Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm Cool. You Can Be Cool, Too

I'm cool because I now have the coolest bags out there for buying groceries. Like most people I bring home a trunk full of plastic bags when I buy groceries. My grocery store will bag meat or loose onions or anything with a spray trigger and then put it in the bigger bag so you've got even more plastic. I usually save the things because they come in handy when scooping out the litter box, but I have collected such a heaping mound of them, and I don't even want to think about how many I have thrown away.

The two stores I shop in sell reusable bags for 99¢ each, although one of them gave me some as a bonus for contributing to a Food for the Needy program. The thing is, these bags are ugly, especially the free ones. That store has no sense of color, and everything is beige. The bags from the other store are emblazoned with the logo of their store brand, and I don't really care to advertise that stuff. I don't buy their products, so I don't want to walk around with their bags as if I'm a fan of cheap soup and knock-off Q-tips.
Well, I now have a new solution. Envirosax. I first discovered these when Niece Lizard gave them to my sister for Christmas. She has a set of five in a floral design. Now I have my own set of five, and they are vintage kitchen graphics with recipes like "How to Make Play Dough" and tips like "To remove a fresh red wine stain on carpet." And they're huge—19 x 16—with sturdy handles and stitching. I took all five to the store the other day and bought a bunch of stuff, and the bag boy/man only used four of the bags. Granted, this store puts your groceries in big bins that go on to a conveyor belt that goes outside, and you drive by to pick up your haul so the carts never leave the store. That means that large things like cat litter and toilet paper don't get put into bags. But I still had plenty of bag room for my groceries. And...I'm cool.

Here is how to remove the wine stain, by the way: sprinkle plenty of bicarbonate soda over the stain and leave until dry. Vacuum, and if the stain is still apparent, sprinkle with a little more bicarbonate soda and a few drops of vinegar. Scrub with a soft brush before letting the stain dry. Vacuum.

Some facts about plastic bags:

• Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.

• According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)

• Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.

• Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.

• Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.


MmeBenaut said...

Ooh! I have one of these! Mine's green (of course). A girlfriend gave it to me for Christmas and I just love taking it out of my handbag at the supermarket. I need to get some more though.
But - I don't know about you but I have a small bin under my sink which I line with the old plastic bags from Woolies - a convenient size which holds about a day (sometimes half a day)'s worth of trash. I tie it up and put it in my wheelie bin and it is collected and goes into landfill. One tiny bag a day isn't too bag.
The thing is, if I don't ever get any from the supermarket, how am I going to empty my kitchen trash - in a bucket I suppose and empty that directly into the wheelie bin.
Any thoughts?

dive said...

Those are indeed cool, young Robyn.
I'm afraid I use the dull brown hemp bags, but I'm fussy and don't use the store-logo ones.

And I use salt on wine stains (I don't eat the stuff but I have some put aside for wine mayhem). I spilled a huge glass of red on Peahen's brand new cream carpet when she moved to the midlands (Eek!); We made a little salt mountain over it and by the morning it was stain-free (whew!).

Mme.B: Recycled, biodegradable rubbish sacks; any supermarket should sell them. If you can't find them is Oz then you'll have a bizarre present to take home when you visit in August. Hee hee.

lynn said...

Yep i use the biodegradable rubbish sacks, Mme. Imagine pouring all the rubbish straight into wheelies. Ugh. I know some people do but imagine all the muck you'd end up clearing up in that extra job. Who needs it?

I have - i was going to say hessian but i suppose Dive has it right - a hemp bag though i'm not yet routined enough to always return it to my handbag or my handbag is too small on that day and i've left it in the other one at home...blah blah but slowly i'm getting there.

Do you have shares in this 5-pack one, Robyn? lol. It was a great advert.

savannah said...

i love the bags, sugar! a whole new industry is springing up for these totes. we've gotten in to the habit of putting the totes by the back door after shopping, so that the next time we go out to the car they can just get thrown on the back seat! otherwise, i forget (CRS) i bought mine at publix and fresh market here in town, but i really like yours! xox

Maria said...

I hate my bags. They have gaudy WHOLE FOODS logos on all of them. But, I use them religiously. Now, we just have to get everyone to do it. I can't tell you how many people have said things like, "Wow. I will have to start doing that!" when they see me checking out with my own bags.

I will look up your bags, though, and use them for gifts. I think they are perfect gifts. Usable. Pretty. Cool.

Shan said...

Yes! I WANT to be as cool as you but I keep forgetting my stinkin' bags. My GF sells grocery bags on Etsy and I have some as well but it is really hard to get the habit started. It is really disheartening when you get two items per bag and end up with 40 sacks per trip. It's so creepy to think of the plastic vortexes we are forming in the oceans with all of it, YUCK.

Shazza said...

I have to confess - I have bought a few of the reusable bags but then I forget to bring them back with me the next time I go to the store! I tried leaving them in my car and then it seems we use M's car when ever we go grocery shopping and I forget to switch them over.

I do have a secret source for tote bags though - Library conferences! Librarians LOVE tote bags and any conference you go to you can get some really nice tote bags by the handfuls - for free!

I have 3 conferences coming up...I'm gonna stock up.

Now if I just remember to use them.

MmeBenaut said...

I love this post Robyn because it is a topic which affects everyone!
Dive: thank you for the offer but most stores (except Woolworths and Coles) provide the biodegradable bags with purchases and I use these when I can.
My point (which I admit I failed to make in my first comment) is that if the supermarkets made biodegradable bags available at the checkout then we could use those as bin liners and the big chains would pick up the cost. By abolishing the free bags (which Australia has not done yet) the cost is passed to the consumer. My solution would be to legislate to make the supermarket chains provide biodegradable bags.

The beauty of Robyn's bags is that they roll up and you put them in your handbag or leave them in your car so that you never forget them.

I had to laugh at Dive's brown hemp bags - now why is it that a wasabi loving, sushimi eating, otherwise vegetarian would choose one of those! LOL

Gina said...

I have some huuuuge resuable bags that Costco was selling at three for five dollars. One of them is insulated too. I haven't seen them since we bought them, though. They are fabulous, but not as purty as yours.

Alifan said...

I love those Robyn may have to get some... Dive gave me one of his nice hemp ones!±!!!!!

Rich said...

Looks cool scout!!

DearestDragonfly said...

Just bought an ugly reusable bag for 99 cents at the local mart. Dang. I'm looking into envirosax for sure. Way cool!