Posted by: Kate | August 6, 2009

Bag It

Shopping bags are a constant in our society. Go anywhere, buy anything, and there is a bag involved. Other countries did away with bags, or made them a costly choice, years ago, but not here in North America (for the most part, although there are cities leading the way, such as San Francisco and Edmonds). We like our bags. People defend them, saying they are our garbage bags, our pet poop bags, and thus are re-used. They are much less of a problem in our landfill than other items, and so why make such a fuss?

Bags are something we can change, easily. So it is worth the fuss, because it is one of those grass-roots movements, like recycling once was, that can change a culture. Those other things that plastic bags are used for – well those can be addressed as well, perhaps as people realize how much they will have to spend on purchasing plastic bags. Perhaps people will want to purchase biodegradable bags, or simply change the way they throw out their garbage.

Our local grocery store has gone plastic bag-free, almost. They still have plastic bags for meat, produce and deli items for food safety reasons, but no more plastic shopping bags at the till. And if you want paper it will cost you. So, instead, we use cloth bags. I don’t find that difficult, as I tend to do one big shop every two weeks and so take all my cloth bags with me. What I am finding difficult are those small shops, when you go in to pick up three or four things. 

I do have one knitted bag that I try to take with me when I go out anywhere. It is hanging near the front door, so I will hopefully see it before I walk out the door. When I use it in town I get some odd looks, but hopefully more people will see it and think of using a bag from home themselves.

shopping bag



  1. I am with you Kate on the cloth bags. I use mine regularly and Kevin has been known to get in trouble for not using them! They live in the car and when they are brought into the house with what have you they are then folded up and place in the same spot every time with my purse to be taken back out to the car.

  2. I took one to the Zed the other day and did you know you get 100 HBC points for bringing your own bag?

    I just carry around the black and green TF ones, but I’m planning to make my own soon. Prettier!

  3. I mostly think unkind thoughts about our city council (Edmonds), and was shocked when they passed the plastic bag ban.

    20 years ago I lived in San Diego and shopped at the one co-op in town. They encouraged canvas bags and I still use the ones purchased 20 years ago. They could use new handles, but after 20 years of hauling groceries they are in fine shape. I always remember to bring my own bags, but I have been practicing for a couple of decades. It can be a slow process, keep trying.

  4. I’ve made four bags for myself out of thrifted pants this summer. I love them and I love not throwing away all those bags. Now whenever I see ripstop nylon at the thrift shop it comes home with me.

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