Our local community imposed a ban on all plastic bags at the start of this year. Many other communities will adopt similar bans in the months and years to come. It’s time to get organized to bring your own bags (B.Y.O.B) with you every time you shop.
If you’ve already boarded the B.Y.O.B. train, congratulations! You’re ahead of the game. If not, here are some things you can do now to get organized.
In-home scavenger hunt:
It might surprise you how many reusable bags you already have. Over the years I’ve received bags at conventions, company functions, or as thank you gifts from various organizations. Not all bags are created equal, but for now, pull together everything you’ve got and assess your collection. You’ll need bags for the grocery store as well as the mall. If more than one family member does the grocery shopping, a second set for the alternate car (or bike) will prove handy. Large totes work well for light-weight shopping. Smaller totes will be more useful for hauling canned soups or tins of cat and dog food.
Scout the deals:
Savvy businesses are offering free or inexpensive tote bags, in most cases under $5 and many under $2. Reusable bags can be found at all the major grocery chains and many of the mom-and-pop stores offer them as well. If you are in business for yourself, you might consider your own promotional give-away. If you prefer stylish bags while you shop, here are a few designs I’ve collected on Pinterest.
Haul out your sewing machine:
Anyone with a machine and basic sewing skills can put together a simple canvas tote in about an hour. I’ve seen totes made from blue jeans, thrift-store finds and fabric remnants. Let your imagination be your guide.
Free patterns and tutorials can be found at Tipnut.
Putting them to use:
It can be challenging at first remembering to bring your bags when you shop. I’ve found that if I return my totes to the car as part of the shopping and unloading routine, then I’ll never be without. Chances are you already take the following on shopping errands:
- A shopping list
- coupons/discount cards
- gift cards
- reward cards
- a purse or wallet.
Add tote bags to that list and you’ll never be without.
A few health concerns: When shopping for uncooked meat, fish or poultry be aware of the potential for spreading food-borne bacteria. Bags used for uncooked meat should be washed regularly in hot, soapy water. You may want to color code your shopping bags (red for meat and fish, green for produce, off-white for frozen food, etc.) to prevent cross-contamination. This will simplify the unpacking chore at home as bags will already be sorted.
Do you B.Y.O.B?