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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    May 2004
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    Miami (Kendall), Florida
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    214

    Grocery Bagging It

    When I was in Europe, I always had canvas bags with me to use at stores (even non-grocery). This was normal there. Or at least the cities I visited.

    Here in the US of A, I know some friends in the big cities (NYC and San Francisco) who use canvas bags for groceries and shopping, but out here in the midwest suburban jungle it's just not done. I've tried to do the canvas bag thing myself here, but I never have stuck with it -- mostly because I feel like the odd duck!

    Well...I just returned from doing post-vacation grocery shopping at one of the mainstream grocery stores (Meijer for all my Midwest friends..) and fought with the cashier who was using the idiotic carousel bagging thing they all use now. He was putting one or two items in the PLASTIC bags and then turning it to fill the next. He told me he was done with the ones coming towards me. I told him he wasn't, as there was still a lot of room in the bags! It's not like the items were things that should be seperated from the rest of the groceries because they were messy, chemicals, or heavy. It was just regular items. I was pulling the bags off the carousel bag hooks and placing the bags on top and telling him what item coming down the belt could go in there. He wasn't too happy with me, but I didn't give a flying plastic monkey's tale!

    It's not like this idiot was an exception either. We have way too many plastic bags from pre-Christmas shopping and previous grocery trips stored up. There isn't a good recycling option for them around here and while reusing the bags would be smart, I think even smarter would be to just not worry about being an odd duck and use canvas bags.

    I have tons of canvas bags in stock, plus canvas I can sew together for my own designs. I was using those big canvas Ikea bags for trips to the beach and dirty clothes while camping in our camper this summer, but those would be perfect to have on hand too!

    I personally would like to start a local movement to encourage others to do the same. I'm just so sick of all the waste from plastic grocery bags! If you look on the sides of highways, it is easy to see tons of them stuck in fence posts and in ditches(along with all the other wasteful crap like fastfood trash and Starbucks cups here lately...). I am also sure that the manufacturing process involved in making these plastic bags isn't good for the environment either. Idiots like the wasteful cashiers don't help.

    Sorry for my rant, but I really am moved by it -- in a angry, but in the end hopefully productive way!

    What's your grocery bag tale?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    sittin' on the dock of the bay
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    749
    First observation on bags:

    I went to Target the other day with my mom to get two items. Since we haven't lived together for awhile, I guess she forgot about how relentless I can be about reducing waste. So when we came to the cashier, I told her we didn't need the bag since it was only two items. My mom was shocked. "I didn't know you didn't HAVE to have a bag if you don't want one!"

    Hopefully now that she knows, she won't take so many bags.


    Second observation on bags:

    In a lot of countries, stores charge you extra if you don't bring your own bags, something like a few cents per bag, and it gets tagged onto your bill. I wish that were the case here, I think it would probably raise awareness of the issue and people would use fewer bags ... plus it might help keep grocery costs down.

  4. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    tucson
    Posts
    4
    a few years ago i worked in a grocery store as a bag girl and i remember quite clearly that if a customer brought their own bags for us to use, we had to use them. i don't know if that's how it is everywhere, but i'd try it. i'm sure they wouldn't mind.

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    35
    When I moved to brooklyn from Portland Oregon, I tried bring canvas bags to the grocery store, and cashears thought I was insaine. I was so use to using my own bags and they are better for carrrying anyway so don't think NYC is a paragon of bag useage I think it is far worse than many other places. I agree it would be great if stores all over the US stopped using so many bags.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    943
    How interesting! I've been thinking about this a lot lately for the past week when I realized how thin the plastic bags at our local grocery store have become.

    And I've always been a big stickler for proper bagging and using as little bags as possible. Now I'm thinking, "Well, if the plastic bags are this thin, there must be a reason for it. Maybe resources are low, it's cheaper, or something, and I should just start bringing my own bags."

    I think it'd be a great movement. I don't actually go grocery shopping when I'm on campus, but if I did, I'd like to take the European route.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    330
    I love using canvas bags. Sometimes you look like an odd duck but then someone comments how cool they are which makes up for it!

    Canvas bags also make great presents.

    I know some stores give .05 credit for each bag you bring in. Sometimes they take it off your bill or you can donate it to local charities. This is popular in local health food stores and chain ones like Wild Oats.

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    30
    It must be different in Australia, because I have never had that problem!! I hate plastic bags and don't use them. I get the cashier to put the groceries into my bags or boxes, or just to the side and I will put them in the trolley without anything (if its a small shop) a few people (mostly teenage girls, working at k-mart or target) will get annoyed, but too bad.

    You just have to ignore that other people don't do it. A lot of people do it around here so I don't have that problem.
    You just have to think.... would you rather destroy the environment, or feel like an odd duck sometimes? You get used to some people being asses about it!


    Good luck!
    hk

  9. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    6
    It is a bit different in Aust. So much so, that the major supermarket chains actually produce "green bags" that are like canvas bags for shoppers to use. They're handy because they have a hard plastic insert on the bottom so they sit well on tables etc and don't break. Plus, they only cost a dollar.

    There's some hardcore tv campaigns to get people to stop using plastic bags as well. And when you do use plastic bags (they are still an option), they try and fit more into them so there's less waste.

    It's refreshing to see some of these companies change their practices for the environment. Woolworths posters claim that in the last year of introducing green bags, plastic bag usage is down 25% already.

    So don't feel like an odd duck. Feel like a crusader! :)

  10. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Miami (Kendall), Florida
    Posts
    214
    I'd like to thank everyone for their responses. I found this link once before while looking up supplies for canvas and just bumped into it again in my "favorites list" -- perfect timing!

    I am now inspired to not care what others at the grocery store think and just use reusable bags most of the time. Maybe they'll all follow me like Slim Shady.

    That would be a fun paired up swap-- decorated canvas shopping bags!

  11. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    943
    How big do you make your bags? And where can you just get canvas the make the bags?

    I need a sewing machine.


 
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