Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Eco-Friendly Tip-of-the-Week

Today is all about the reusable bag. I have and love my different reusable bags for different reasons. I was thinking about doing this topic last night when I was watching Rules of Engagement on TV. The women in the show were shopping, and both had their reusable bags over their shoulders. I noticed it right away, but then my husband even said something about it. (He is coming along nicely) There are different price points for reusable bags. Here is a run down of what I have and how I use them.

First reusable bag...your old bags. Cost is free, usable until they fall apart. I do forget my reusable bags from time to time, I am only human. When I do forget, I think about the stash of bags I have in the pantry and think about what ones I am running low on. I use the paper bags for my weekly recycling and a few for gift wrapping and craft projects. I use those multiplying plastic bags for poop patrol with the dogs. The kids use them to haul their winter gear to school in too. I have also started "collecting" a few more for the upcoming garage sale.

Second reusable bag...Chico Bags. These were the first bags I actually bought, and still use them today. I bought them at ReusableBags.com and paid $4.95 each for them. I got five, and I literally fit a full Cub Foods cart of food into them, minus the milk. I purchased them back on 4/4/07 and have used them soooo many times. I have used them for groceries, camping trips, dance competitions, caring food at holiday times, even caring toys for the toddler. My oldest son and I used to count how many bags we saved by using them, and completely lost track after 100. I would guess we are in the 200's by now. The best part of these bags is that they fit into a small carry pouch that is attached to it. I can fit all five bags into a medium sized purse and still have room for all my other stuff. Plus now they come in fun colors, I may need to get a few of those.

Third reusable bags...store bags. I personally have three Target bags, the huge ones. They cost $.99 for the smaller ones, and $1.49 for the medium and huge ones. Thanks to California, pretty much all national stores now offer some sort of reusable bag. These are normally a better price, but different quality. The Chico Bags above are made out of machine washable nylon, the Target bags are a woven material, that if pierceed will rip. Do not rule these out because of that, they are a great bag, and the big ones will hold alot of purchases if the cashier knows how to pack them right. (I have asked to pack my own when they don't know how to) Store bags can be used at ANY store. Just because it has a particular name on the outside, it can go anywhere. One of the nicest I have seen, but do not have yet, is the bags at Home Depot. They have large clips on the side, so the bags attach to the plastic bag holders for easy packing.

So these are the bags that I personally have. There are thousands of other bags out there. There are even some for free, like the free Earthbound Organic Bags. I have not received mine yet, but I am waiting patiently. Some stores do have free giveaway days, so be on the lookout for those. But the trick to making the bags work for the environment is to use them. Leave them in your can, carry a tote bag full of them, do whatever you have to do to remember to use them. Then think about how many bags you are saving!

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A blog about living within your means in todays world, while being married, raising three kids, working full-time, and trying not to go crazy in the process.