Paper or Plastic?

Spread the Sustainable Gospel!

Zero Waste | How about cloth? Swapping plastic bags for cloth bags is probably the easiest thing anyone can do to start eliminating trash and plastic from their lives. This is actually the one thing I have been somewhat doing since my first ecology class in college, when we all had to pledge one green change. Despite my pledge, I wasn’t perfect at always remembering to take my bags to the grocery store, and I never took them to retail stores. How many of you have or had the infamous “bag of bags”?

Puss isn’t very happy that I have his paper bag filled with plastic ones!

I’m guilty, but I promise this is my last! 😉 I’m taking these bags back to the grocery store to be recycled and I’m bidding a sweet farewell to these unnecessary things!

To ensure that I never add another plastic bag to this eyesore of a pile, I have decided to plan out my shopping trips better, eliminate impulse buys, and will always keep a cloth bag in my purse at all times. So far so good! What if I still forget? I will refuse.

I’m really surprised that more people do not use their own cloth bags. There are so many pros!

  • Can hold more items than plastic bags.
  • Less waste is going to the landfills.
  • Less petroleum usage going into the production of those bags.
  • Those bags aren’t making their way into bodies of water.
  • They can be used for more than just getting groceries.
  • Some grocery stores actually give you money back for bringing your own bags!

 Yes, seriously! You can get paid for bringing in your own bags. Who doesn’t like free money?

Sadly, you don’t just encounter plastic bags at check outs. They are literally everywhere in grocery stores. The most horrible offender being the produce aisle. I’ve always thought putting produce in a flimsy produce sack that was just going to be placed into another sack was completely pointless. Once I read where people were using small cloth cinch bags for their produce, I nearly squealed out loud at work with excitement. I know, that’s kind of a strange thing to get excited about but it never occurred to me that I could do this. I remember thinking to myself, “Seriously, why have I never thought of this before?” I immediately purchased my first set of cloth produce bags and now never leave home without them. Yes, I definitely get strange looks at the store (it’s the Midwest so what do you expect) and have even gotten comments about why I’m using them, but honestly, I love that people notice. If I can influence at least one person to make the switch to cloth produce bags, I will feel successful. According to a store manager, whom I know personally, I am the only one he’s ever seen do this. That saddens me.


Once I saw that there were more uses to the cloth cinch bags than just produce, like filling them with bulk items for instance, I quickly realized I didn’t have nearly enough of them and made about 20 more. I’ve even gotten an offer from a local shop to carry some that I’ve made!

Simply by opting to refuse plastic bags, my shopping waste has lessened dramatically! It makes me incredibly excited to keep pursuing this and to move to the next level. Oh, and if I haven’t gotten you convinced that cloth bags are the greatest thing ever here’s one more perk…

 They do a pretty darn good job at keeping left over brownies moist. Boom. Drop mic.

6 thoughts on “Paper or Plastic?

  1. In my area, Hy-Vee, Sprouts, and Apple Market will give me a $0.05 refund for each bag I bring in with me. You can also get bag refunds at Target, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. For store's near you, I would call ahead and inquire about their BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) reward.

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