Friday, April 16, 2010

Save the Planet: Bring a Bag for your Groceries!

I would like to find more Earth friendly ways of wrapping and shipping my product. The other day I found this really cool tutorial on how to make your own envelopes by NaturalKids Team friend Katsinthebelfry. http://natural-kids.blogspot.com/2010/04/earth-day-how-to-make-upcycled-shipping.html
Once I run out of my envelopes, I will definitely give it a shot. The only problem is I never get paper sacks at the store. I bring cloth bags. Duh! http://www.etsy.com/shop/katsinthebelfry

I am often stunned at, how many people in this nation still go shopping every day and DON'T bring a bag. I see people with shopping carts loaded to the brim, yet they did not bring a SINGLE bag. Did they not know they were going grocery shopping that day? I mean, I understand forgetting a bag once in while. I am not perfect myself. If I ever forget, I can politely ask for a papersack and use it for the envelopes mentioned above!

Did you know that in Germany they actually charge you money for the bags at the check-out lane. I am not sure, how much it costs these days. But before I moved away the price was up to 15 cents per bag. I wonder how many people in Greeley, Colorado would do a better job of remembering to bring their bags, if it cost them a few dollars more to haul home their pile of groceries in planet polluting plastic bags?

People here seem to have it all backwards. Most people don't even know that the grocery stores here give you 5 cents per bag for every bag you bring with you. When I first heard it, I was in shock: "Wait a minute. You are telling me that I get paid here for bringing my bags - as opposed to paying for being a "Umweltschwein"? Yes, there is actually a word in the German language to describe people, who are selfish and don't think of the ramifications of their actions. If you don't bring your grocery bags you are a environmental pig or hog! I know that in some areas in the US plastic bags became such a huge problem that they were outlawed (e.g. San Francisco).

I will keep chugging along, bringing my own grocery bags, and trying to set a good example. Maybe on Earth Day I could start a campaign and hand out some flyers about plastic bags and how much pollution they cause. I am scared though. Most people in this town are very conservative and set in their ways. They already think I am a freak because I have a German accent...

19 comments:

BirchLeaf Designs - Wendy and Mojo said...

Nice post Ulla! Have you seen this link? I can't help but sing it everytime I go to the grocery store!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvnYIxv_364

Also, the grocery store is not the only place one needs a bag! Take a bag with you to *every* store you go to...the hardware store, the mall, the feed store, etc...

mrsbeccijo said...

I love my shopping bags, I have quite a collection!
Beccijo
http://www.etsy.com/shop/theenchantedcupboard

germandolls said...

You are right, Wendy! It is important to always be prepared and have a bag on hand! That's why I carry lots of them in my car. =)

Vilt à la Kim said...

Great popst Ulla!!
I also used to have loads of bags in the car.. And I always get annoyed when the lady at the checkout wraps the item I bought in a plastic bag, without asking first if I need a bag. I always take my time to get the item out and hand her the plastic bag back....
Little bits make the world better.

kat (kats in the belfry) said...

thanks for mentioning my tutorial, and featuring one of my mini market totes!

i loved this article. you're right, we need to be charged for paper sacks, not paid for bringing cloth.

Vilt à la Kim said...

Hi Ulla,
Here in the Netherlands lots of shops don't offeer a free plastic bag anymore but have "sturdy shoppers" whiwch can be used more often. They are really fancy and practical in use . I mostly used to have 5 bags in my car, just in case. Some warehouses still wrap everything you buy in a plastic bag without asking first. I just think that's a policy all cassieres just follow. I must admit when that happens to me I always take my time to get the item out of that bag and hand it over to the lady no matter how long the line behind me is:)
When I do take a plastic bag I re use them at home. I collect all other plastic wastes in a bag and when it is full I'll sit on it and tie it and make sure it will not be put in the other waste trash. We need to seperate trash: plastics, papers, composables, glass, iron, medicins and other waste.
Plastic is collected per household, just like waste, composables and papers. we need to bring glass, iron, cloths and medicins to a special station ourselves.

I nearly forget to say most plastic you get here is bio degreable (correct?)but it is still plastic...

Banana Bottoms said...

Great post! I have always used cloth shopping bags and prefer them to plastic anyways. Interestingly, here in Nova Scotia a grocery store did charge 5 cents per bag for a while... but that lasted only a few months and now the plastic ones are back! But what an ordeal not offering them was. Lots of complaints!! Now they refund you a penny per cloth bag. But you are absolutely right ~ it's such a little thing people can do and it doesn't involve a whole lot of change or extra work. There really is no excuse not to!

Simple Mama said...

We just recently switched over to cloth bags and I love them. They are easier to use and more groceries fit in them so less trips out to the car to carry all the groceries in!

Polar Bear Creations said...

Plastic bags in Germany cost now mostly 50 cent Euro/67 cent US!Depending on the grocery store it could be more or a bit less.

The bags are however much thicker and bigger then the flimsy plastic bags you get here at the grocery store or at Walmart and can be reused many,many times.
They also have compostable plastic bags now.Still not perfect but much better.
A lot of people shop with fabric bags or baskets in Germany too.You just get used to bring your own bags. My mom has bags,wicker baskets and foldable baskets
in her car and packs everything herself when she get's to the car. That seems to me like a great solution, since I never realy like how they pack my things in the store anyway. :0)
20 bags for 10 items never worked for me!!
The always look funny at me to when I don't want milk in a bag and such....
I think we just have to show people how you should do it,lead by excample.
Have a wonderful day! :0)

germandolls said...

Maybe we can start a cloth bag revolution! =) Thanks so much for all the comments and feedback from everyone!

Emily said...

My favorite bags are some heavy duty canvas ones that I got at Publix ten years ago (I'm not kidding about the ten years). They are the most hardworking bags I've ever seen.

I keep our bags on the floorboard under the car seat to help me remember to carry them in. Works beautifully - as long as you don't forget the baby. :D

Eve said...

Here in Ontario, plastic bags in all stores cost 5 cents. I am so surprised that most people STILL do not bring their own. We keep some in the car all the time and I have a few nifty folding ones for my purse.

Stephanie said...

Hi Ulla, thanks for the invite to your blog; I will be a regular reader!

I am a very absent-minded person, but have finally figured a way to remember my own bags! I bought a lovely tote style purse on Etsy and filled it with an assortment of chico bags (http://www.chicobag.com/p-16-chicobag-original.aspx), my water bottle, and my other essentials. I love the chico bags because they have their own little pouch. They fit nicely in my purse, and I'm always prepared! My next project will be to sew an assortment of drawstring style bags for bulk items.
By the way, my eight-year-old daughter is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her pocket baby. :)

lilgamoma said...

I've been using reusable bags for a few years and have all different types & sizes. So I end up use different bags for certain things. I love the fact you can fit so much more in them than plastic bags too. In fact, I am having a giveaway for two reusable bags on my BLOG for Earth Day!

Lupen Grainne said...

I agree with you 100%
I have been bringing my own shopping bags and washed re-used produce bags ,to the store for many years.

I wish they charged for bags here too, it will hopefully get to that.

I would like to add that produce bags haven't had much awareness ,....Bringing a shopping bag is great, so why not take it a step further, and not use brand new produce bags either, because all those veggies and bulk goods need to go in something , and is it all that eco-friendly if our cloth shopping bags are full of brand new plastic bags for produce and bulk goods ......That is ALOT of plastic if one counted how many they get in one week then all year...
we wash ours and re-use ours , It's a start anyway...to consuming less of them, I would love to make some cloth ones


this is a very good topic and so glad you wrote about it and so great to read everyone's comments.

yay for earth day !! :)

Jennifer Williams said...

Very well said Ulla, you write in such a funny way, I love it! I have a variety of re-useable bags that I take but they aren't very pretty, it is on my list to make some for myself!!

I have signed up to follow!!
Jenni
www.little-blossoms-childminding.blogspot.com

LynnAnne said...

I find that I have to keep the cloth bags in the car so I dont forget!( I feel guilty if I do)
They come in handy for all sorts of other things as well.

woolies said...

I don't bring cloth bags to the grocery store, because whatever bag I get from the grocery store gets used!
I almost always ask for paper bags, and every single one of them gets used for my packaging. Or to store the papers that get recycled at our house - which is a ton.
And I also reuse the plastic bags. With 4 dogs, there is a lot of waste. We pick it up every day, and use the plastic bags for the dog waste, which then gets taken to the dump once a month.

germandolls said...

I wonder about the plastic bags and the dog waste situation. I know that's what most dog owners do now these days. The bags are being recycled and reused. Yet, I wonder how long they will sit around in landfills? I really wish they made some cornstarch biodegradable kind of dog doodoo bag that would disappear after sitting in the landfill after a while...