Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cloth Tote Bags

PETA preaches the virtues of taking your own shopping bags to the store; I concur with all of them -- except for the problem of "the clutter of saved plastic bags." We reuse our plastic bags:

* liners in small wastebaskets in the bedrooms and bath

* use for daily cleaning of the kitty's litter box

* to wrap and carry spoiled food from the fridge, taking it directly to the outside garbage can

* packing material for shipping things

* and while we've never used it, the old put your foot in a bag then slide it in a tight boot *wink*

However, cloth tote bags are much nicer for trips to the store when we walk (and we are known around our neighborhood for walking to the store!).

Using tote bags can also help with budgeting; if you only brought two tote bags with you, you're more mindful not to buy things you don't really need which won't fit in the tote bags. *wink*

The downside is you are spending money on cloth totes. But, as PETA mentions, purchasing a tote from your favorite organization helps support the cause you believe in and it literally helps you carry your message to others.

Since totes are popular, the four we have we received free from local companies; so super cheap thrift score!


Anonymous said...

I have purchased 4 such totes, and find them very helpful to take along to the grocery store. They hold so much more that a plastic bag, and one of the grocery stores gives me 4 cents credit per bag towards my grocery bill. I still ask for plastic bags to pack meat and frozen foods in.

The Vintage Housewife... said...

hello i just found your blog...i love the wall desk...i will be swinging by again soon...come on by cat

Udo Umami said...

great post! too bad our gramma's didn't know we'd need to be so eco-conscious in the future, eh? here's to making it a better world! <3 Üdo

Anonymous said...

Another use for plastic bags: our local "Food cupboard" uses them. They provide grocery bags full of food to local needy families. So, a shelter near you might be looking for donations of bags. (They tried it with reusable cloth bags, but it didn't work.)

Drea Morsby said...

Actually, reusing your plastic bags is one of the worst things to do! I used to work as a checkout operator in a supermarket and I couldn't help but grit my teeth in frustration when the customers say 'oh, only use the bigger sized plastic bags, then I can used them as a bin liner'. Why? Well where does the plastic bag go when you take out the trash in it? Straight to landfill!!! Our supermarket has a facility where you can return your used plastic shopping bags and they then get taken away, melted down and made into new plastic bags. So the cycle continues. (That probably takes a lot of time and energy though, it's probably better if they're phased out all together).

I have a real beef against these so called 'cloth' bags that are generally made out of polypropylene. It's made to look cloth like but it's actually plastic and those bags take longer to break down than a plastic bag. Sure they are reusable but they don't have a terribly long life. They seem to get holes and tears very easily, even the chiller versions! So that's a steady flow of thrown out polypropylene bags right there!

My favourite are the Jute bags. Jute is a woven hemp like material and the jute bags seem to be extremely sturdy and tough as nails. I've seen countless Tesco ones people have brought to Australia after moving from the UK. They love them that much! A lot of the jute bags have a polyethylene lining which is basically a thin clear plastic that adheres to all the weaving, reinforces the bag and stops the fibre from getting wet. Polyethylene can be broken down. Not naturally however but the option is THERE and it's only a tiny tiny amount of plastic anyway in a highly useful and robust bag!
(note: calico bags are really irritating to pack because they're floppy and don't keep they're shape, same with parachute/silk bags but they're not quite as bad). There are also really robust plastic Tesco bags that come through that never seem to die!

Anyway, the only reason I'm so passionate about the humble shopping bag is that working at the checkouts, I would see hundreds of them fly out by my hands a day. I hated it. ONE supermarket will put out over 5,000 plastic bags a day. How many of there are there in the world? That's a lot of bags! The state of South Australia is trialling a ban on plastic bags in shops etc. so I'm eagerly awaiting the results of that and hope more states introduce the law.

Anyway, sorry about my rant! It just frustrates me to no end how they're pumping out those polypropylene bags screaming ECO-FRIENDLY when they're really very much not!

P.S. www.ecojuteindia.com/ (i think this is the company that makes the jute bags for coles & tesco?)

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