February 25, 2016

Eliminating Plastic: Part 3 - Shopping

I'm guessing that eliminating plastic for shopping (i.e. those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags) is one area where quite a few of us have made progress. One of the cleverest ideas (for those of us who buy large bags of animal feed), are those homemade feedbag totes (instructions here). One of these days I'm going to make me some. In the meantime, I've kept cardboard boxes and fabric totes in the car for years. Recently I made some upgrades when I started solving my laundry plastic problems, but it started when my daughter-in-law gave me this roomy thermal tote as a gift.

I've used it for transporting hot or cold foods. Pocket is handy too.

I love it. So much lighter weight than the cooler I used to lug around for refrigerated or frozen items. In my part of the country, that is a must for summer shopping.

Next she gave me one of these

(The tote, not the cat :) Roomy & sturdy, with double reinforced
straps. Katy snoopervises the putting away of groceries.


It is similar to the laundry tote showed you in my post on eliminating plastic in the laundry. It's just not as wide, so it's perfect as a grocery tote: sturdy and holds a lot. I also ordered two of these

The gallon of vinegar is to give you an idea of how roomy
& sturdy it is. The grommets really strengthen the straps.

I'm very happy with them. They make all my old canvas totes seem dinky and flimsy. These are roomy and strong! The heavy webbing handles are reinforced with both stitching and grommets.

What's really great is that once all the groceries are unpacked, they all squish up and fit inside the large tote.


For me, that means it's easier to remember to put back into the car! For some reason my little cloth totes were forever getting pushed aside so that often they weren't where I needed them.

I got two personal totes as customer specials, well, one tote and one purse.

Shoulder strap purse and library tote. I really
like that it holds pen and notebook so handily.

Before I tell you where I got them, I have a confession to make. You probably noticed I don't do ads on my blog and don't even push my own books terribly often. But I did figure that if I was going to show these anyway, then I might as well set up the link to host a blog "party." If anyone orders, then I get credit for more products (and I have my eye on several things to help eliminate plastic storage containers). To check out the catalog, click here. You will land at a page entitled "Leigh's Online Thirty-One Party," and if you click "shop now," you can see what they've got. Better yet would be to host your own blog or facebook party so you could get free and discounted products. Just click on "Host a Party" at the top of the page, or email me and I'll put you in touch with my daughter-in-law.

Another option: if you really like the products and are interested in a flexible home business that doesn't call for huge start-up capital, you could become a consultant. For more information click "Become a Consultant" at the top of this page or email me and I'll put you in touch with my daughter-in-law.

One last consideration for eliminating plastic in shopping, is where you shop. One of the reasons I like Aldi is because they don't bag my groceries. I bring my own boxes or bags and eliminate those stupid plastic grocery bags.  I mention that because some places I shop, I feel like I'm inconveniencing the checker because she has to take the time to use my bags instead of just pop my items into plastic.

Your turn. Is shopping an area you've made plastic elimination progress?



31 comments:

Theresa said...

Ashland banned plastic bags of any sort a few years ago and many other cities have too. Portland might have been one of the first. Stores will provide paper bags for 10 cents each, so pretty much everyone uses their own bags or boxes. We have worked to get rid of plastic as we can. All storage containers are glass now. Using fabric options more etc.
It's now habit to use the canvas totes I made no matter where I am.

Leigh said...

That's how it ought to be everywhere, and hopefully other areas are following the lead.

Louise Houghton said...

Where we live, in Wales, and also in England you have to pay 5p for a plastic carrier bag. I always take reusable bags when I go to the supermarket and on the very odd occasions that I forget them I feel so bad and begrudge spending 50p to get my shopping in the car.

Ed said...

I admit I use the store plastic bags. I use them a lot in the garage to bundle up stain soaked rags or paint soaked rollers. We also are required to use them to bag up our magazines and newspapers when recycling them. Between all these uses, we rarely accumulate them and when we do, we can also recycle them with our trash.

I used to insist on paper which I also reuse and recycle but like bringing your own totes, people started getting impatient in the lines whenever I requested paper so I eventually stopped and lately I've noticed that they don't even ask 'paper or plastic' anymore.

Seeking Serenity said...

there is one thing about the plastic shopping bags- I use them for my trash instead of garbage bags. Why buy plastic garbage bags when I can reuse a plastic shopping bag?

Thistle Cove Farm said...

My insulated Sam's bag is about 20 years old and still using it. Like you, I keep shopping bags in my vehicles and try to remember to use them. When I forget, and use plastic, the plastic is either re-cycled or used for packing material and will then be re-cycled. A couple of days ago, I bought some melamine bowls and covers, no BPA, and giving the Tupperware away.

Leigh said...

Seeking Serenity, yes, I do that too, because we still end up with those plastic bags anyway. I agree there's no sense buying plastic bags for the purpose of throwing them away!

We've also found out that our landfill will accept feedbags for the bags. It's a shame bagging waste is a requirement, isn't it?

Leigh said...

I would feel the same way!

Leigh said...

Hmm, I've noticed that too about "paper or plastic." Interesting that you are required to use the plastic. I suppose that's a rationalization for not banning them. I've had gals at the checkout tell me huffily that they recycle their plastic bags as though that makes that better than my canvas bags.

Leigh said...

Yes, they do make packaging material! Nice to hear your Sam's bag has lasted so long. That speaks of a well-made product. I wonder if their newer ones last as long!

Sandy said...

Leigh,

We use insulated bags purchased years ago, and coolers as well. In fact, there's always an insulated cooler in the truck because you just never know when you may find a great deal when out and about.

Renee Nefe said...

for groceries I put my list in my bag on grocery day, so I always have those with me. But I had to write on my bags "Please remember that a HUMAN has to carry this bag." My last bagger got a giggle out of that. Some of the younger teen boys like to see just how much they can load up in my bags. I usually have to change things around once I get my order to the car anyway. sigh. I have plenty of bags now as we get free ones all the time, so I need to put a set in the car for when we go to other stores...although having a supply of plastic for the bathroom trash bins etc is very helpful.
I've been considering making my own bags similar to your new ones. I even researched making my own oilcloth for them. :D

Renee Nefe said...

I forgot to mention... Several years ago I used to get paid to bring in my own bags...5cents each. Then the stores threatened to charge customers 5cents each for using their bags (my payment disappeared) but they never started charging...they just stopped paying. sigh

Quinn said...

A couple of years ago I asked for paper bags at a WalMart checkout, just for the heck of it...and guess what? They HAD paper bags! They sure don't advertise the option, but the more times people ask for paper, the more likely a local WM will make them available, I think. No harm in asking, anyway!
I'm getting much better at remembering to bring in the canvas totes from my car, but sometimes I still forget. But if I'm going to be wheeling a cart out to my car anyway, I sometimes just put the purchases in the cart without a bag and them stick them in the totes when I get to the car.

Farmer Barb said...

I have a cute little hide-away in my pick-up truck behind the left rear seat. I can stuff about thirty cheesy give-away reusable bags. I am tired of the non-woven "fabric" tearing. I will welcome the opportunity to "shop" in my current shut in state. I like the way those bags stay open. If I lived near you, I would come to the party, so I don't feel that getting credit for your directing me to them is anything but helpful to me! Thank you!

Leigh said...

That's funny about the sign on your bags. They must be sturdy. Oil cloth is a good idea too. I seem to recall a discount for bringing our own bags too, but that was awhile ago. It must have been too successful. :)

Leigh said...

I think you're right about having the paper but not advertising. One thing I noticed about Walmart bags is that for awhile the plastic got so flimsy that they couldn't hold anything. Baggers started double and triple bagging everything. Not too long after that the bags got a little heavier. I always laugh when their penny-pinching schemes backfire.

Leigh said...

Yes, a lot of those giveaway type fabric tear, which is why I was glad to get rid of them.

I'm glad you're feeling up to shopping! And it's too bad I can't serve refreshments at an online party. :)

Judy said...

Like some of your other commenters I use the store plastic bags as trash can liners. Usually there is a steady flow in-n-out of the house. But if I get too many bags laying about I will cut them into strips and make plarn with them and then crochet the plarn into totes. Link to plarn: http://www.plasticbagcrafts.com/make-plarn/.

I have also made my own lined t-shirt bags with fabric from my stash.

Farmer Liz said...

Those totes look great. We also have a whole lot of "green bags" as they are called here, and keep them by the door and they go in the car when we go shopping. I hate being caught out though, there are a few always in the car and in my bag and hidden here and there!

Farmer Liz said...

AND we use newspaper to line our bin, been doing that for several years now, so very rarely actually "need" a plastic bag for anything except packing meat in our freezer.

Mountain Mama said...

I have often felt the same way - first of all, it's amazing when the checkout person actually bags my groceries and doesn't expect me to do it myself (hello? I'm the customer!!) second of all, I hate when they give me an attitude because I bring my own Eco-totes!! I'm going to check out these totes, they look fabulous!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

I am good at taking my bags into Aldi's but not the other stores! You have some nice totes but all my bags were free. Nancy

Leigh said...

Judy, thank you for the link! That's a really great idea. I've seen woven bags with plastic strips (like rag rugs) but this is great for no loom.

Leigh said...

Keeping track of them has always been my downfall. At least for my old ones which are small (nice to tuck into a pocket or pocket book) but easily lost. New ones are too big to overlook, LOL

Leigh said...

Interesting! How to you empty the bin for the landfill? Most trash pick-up companies and landfills in the U.S. require everything be bagged before they'll take it, which is extremely annoying. ("You mean I have to buy a plastic bag for the sole purpose of throwing it away?") We were happy they'd take feed bags, so now I use those for trash bags, and the plastic grocery bags for waste basket liners. At least it's a small step in the right direction.

Leigh said...

It seems to me that the downfall of any good idea is the humans. A good idea or policy can be totally undermined by individuals.

Do check out the totes, they are a good investment. :)

Leigh said...

I still have my free ones too, but I confess they are no longer my favorites. :)

Rain said...

Like most people, I bring my own shopping bags. All of the ones I have are made of canvas and they're very sturdy. One of the markets where I shop offers boxes so I always take a box and fill it with the groceries. When I remember, and I should more often, I bring the boxes back into the car to use again. Otherwise, they get recycled or become cheap cat toys :)

Leigh said...

I like canvas the best too. And thank you for mentioning the boxes. I started using those when I started shopping at Aldi. Much sturdier than plastic or paper, and like you say, great cat amusement. :)

Tina T-P said...

Hi Leigh - Bellingham has a ban on plastic grocery bags so we all use re-usable ones - Fred Meyers even carries some very nice oil cloth ones. Most of the stores have their own "brand" reusable bags - some are very nice, some are pretty flimsey. I'll have to take a look at the bags you were talking about. T.