Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Day Without a Disposable Bag

Today is "A Day Without a Disposable Bag" in  Los Angeles and and in our house as well. Obviously, the idea is to go a whole day with out accepting a single use bag from any store. I know this is made harder by the fact that it's holiday shopping time but I think it's a great challenge. And I love that they're  billing it as our holiday gift to the environment.

In honor of this auspicious occasion I am giving away five MVFF eco grocery bags today! And that's not all. Inside each of those bags will be... an MVFF 2009 Calendar! 

 All you have to do to enter is:
 1. Do not accept even one disposable bag today when you are out in the world.
 2. Report back here in the comments section about how it went. 

As always you need not be a shareholder to win. Winners will be chosen at random and announced tomorrow morning. 

I am terribly forgetful so I know what it's like to get to the checkout stand and realize you've left you're reusable bags in the car or at home. If I've left them in the car I just put everything back in the cart and load the bags at the car. Leaving them at home is more problematic. Once, to teach myself a lesson, I loaded all the loose groceries into the back seat of my truck and put them in bags when I got home to bring in the house. What. A. Pain. But it helped me to remember the next time, you can be sure!

Now, as soon as I put the groceries away, I gather my reusable bags and put them right back in the truck. In addition to several MVFF bags I have four giant-sized bags from Whole Foods. They cost 99 cents and if they ever tear or get a hole in them WF will replace them- for free. It's worth a trip, even if you just run in to buy bags; they are usually right up front by the checkout stands. 

If you're planning any holiday shopping today, consider taking a large tote bag along or a shopping bag from a previous trip to the mall. You'd be amazed at how much you can get into those bags when motivated. 

What do you say? Are you in? Just think how many bags our little group can refuse today.

(Thanks to my mom for the idea for this post. You are amazing, Mama! Take the rest of the day off.)

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Now, I am off to shop with my bags.
Love,
Mom

Annie said...

I am sewing reusable shopping/grocery bags for everyone on my Christmas list this year, and have not accepted a store's bag in at least the past month (because I forgot mine, of course!). I try to keep one or two that fold up really tiny in my purse all the time, and a whole stash in the trunk, too!

Crunchy Crafts said...

wowo i just found this i always refuse bags we use cloth when we go to the grocery shop but everywhere else we just carry the stuff if we dident bring a bag. today i had my daughter in the wago so dident need a bag when i went to get soda. but this is good for those who use plastic more then they should!

knittherapy said...

Oh, thank you for the wonderful tip about keeping the items in the cart and loading at the car when I leave my reuse bags there! Aha!

Jean said...

We picked this habit up while living in Germany where you have to bring a basket, your own bag or buy them if you forget. When I go to the store and forget, I take the stuff out in the cart, load it in the back of the car and then go get the bags from my house when I get home so I can bring it in the house. Sort of my own punishment to remember the next time. Hannafords ticked me off a few weeks ago because you can't take stuff out of their store without it being in a bag and I'd forgotten mine. I was so ticked at them. I asked the guy if he could just watch me go to the door and he said, "Rules are rules". Grrr.

Susan said...

That is ridiculous Jean! I mean, you own the stuff- you paid for it. Very irritating.

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyndsey-Jane said...

Today will be easy for me to this as i only need to get groceries and always take my re-usable bags with me, in UK the store I use regularly gives extra reward points (called green points) for every re-usable bag used.
I tried hard yesterday when xams shopping to keep bags to a minimum, taking my own with me but I had to accept a few, most of which though were paper bags so can be put in with the recycling.

Emily said...

This happens to fall on a day when I'm not planning to buy anything anyway, so not a big personal challenge. BUT, it's a great idea and maybe I'll transmute it to my next grocery day. We generally bring our own bags anyway, but we forget more often than I like to admit.

Terry D said...

This pledge will be easy for me because I won't be shopping today. We are expecting snow and I will stay home tonight and finish up a knitting project. I have to admit that I have a nice collection of tote bags that I keep by the back door. It would be smarter to put them in the car, though.

Xtiand said...

I decided to stop using plastic last Christmas. I keep a large melon box in my boot (trunk) for loose shopping, I have a little bag filled with net fruit and vegetable bags to use instead of the little plastic ones on the counters and a couple of large cloth carriers to put clothing etc in. I have reused all the plastic bags we had until they collapsed or got torn then they went for recycling. People often ask about the little net bags so I've asked our local grocers to sell them. Hopefully that will happen in 2009.

Julie Roads said...

You are the best! Also - I just want to torment all of your readers: I've seen the new site design and I LOVE IT!!!

Now, Susan...COME HOME TO MV...we miss you too much.

Elizabeth said...

No problem. I have a large messenger bag that I use as a purse and everything else. Grocery store cashiers sometimes freak when I put food in there, but, hey, it's Tom Bihn, which means very sturdy, washable canvas.

Today I'm out with a canvas tote, too, as I was delivering some xmas packages to friends, so if I will be making room as the day proceeds for anything that ends up catching my eye on the way home!

Carol said...

I've been out to Wal*Mart this morning and used my black fabric bags for my shopping. It has been a long process to help teach the Wal*Mart checkers that I truly do not want a plastic bag of any sort, even if that is what they are so used to doing. I live in a teeny tiny town in Tennessee, and Wal*Mart is pretty much the only game in town. Susan, your hint about putting away groceries and putting the bags back in the truck is perfect. I've been doing it that way for a while, works great, bags are always in the truck when I need them.
Stay warm........
Carol P.

Joanb said...

I used my Stop & Shop bag this morning and to prove it I took a picture of my stuff along with today's paper showing the date :)
The trickiest thing is remembering to take the bags out of the car and into the store. Why is that?

I hadn't heard of a store not allowing you to leave without a bag before. As long as you have a receipt for the merchandise what does it matter how you carry it out of the store...geez.

Diane said...

I love those canvas grocery store bags. Instead of 20 plastic bags with handles that dig into your skin and stretch and break I can load an entire week's worth of groceries into 8-10 canvas bags and carry them into the house comfortable. Plus since the bags stand up in the back of the car there are no more items rolling around after they've escaped the plastic bags.

I took my reusuable bags into the mall with me and boy the looks I got from the clerks was priceless. Really so much earier to carry the stuff around.

Susan said...

JoanB, you have given me some wonderful, crazy ideas for giveaways when the new website is up. Ya'll will be able to upload your own photos to the new site and we could have scavenger hunts!

Julie said...

I am so there! I have a stash of reuseable bags that are sturdy enough for grocery shopping and I use them religiously at the grocery store or the farmer's market when it's in season. On top of that I've made my own produce bags, some from muslin and some from tulle. What I'm working on is remembering to bring them in EVERY sort of store and I'm getting better at that. The folks at the local market love my produce bags and comment on them every time. Once I get my serger repaired I might even make some for them to sell, they definitely seem interested.

Anonymous said...

As part of the Food CSA/Farm to City - I made up 2 sets of big tote bags and I switch them out each week - leave a set for the guy to fill, take the full set. Also keep a couple of big ones in the car - Made my own because the store ones are pretty small and wimpy and I'd rather rip my arms out of their sockets than take 2 trips!LOL! After I empty them I hang them on the doorknob and they GENERALLY make it back into the car! Great idea to those making bags for christmas presents! I am crochet-ing a couple in peaches-n-cream for various folks, great acidy colors!
-Lisa

Grace said...

I love this idea! We've been using our own bags for a few years now. It was hard to remember to bring the bags with us in the beginning but now, it's just habit. I always keep the bags in the car and after unloading the bags, keep them next to the front door. It's amazing how such a small thing as having your own bags can lead to such a huge return. I have to also say that I love our Trader Joe bags. They are room, easy to load and did I mention how much stuff you can put into just one bag!

Spooky said...

I just bought myself some yummy new bags from Chicobag, I am headed out the door with them today for my last minute Yule shopping :)

Threadless said...

I had no idea there was a No Disposable Bags day, that's awesome! I have been bringing my own bags to grocery stores for ages. I am in the process of weaning off bags from department store bags. Today will be a snap as I have a sick baby girl at home so we aren't going anywhere, but I will pledge to keep it going for the weekend!

Gina said...

I use a reusable big farmer's market type bag that I fulled with 100% wool that I spun and then knit. It is so big and artsy. I also keep a thermal cooler type of bag in my nissan at all times for the cold itmes. I feel so good walking out of the store with my reusable bags. I like you , have also forgotten them in the car at times and have had to run out to get them once I have paid leaving my cart full and freaking out that someone is going to take my full bag of groceries or the stock person will start to put the items back.

Brat said...

We started doing this in the Spring in my house, it's hard to get into the habit but once you've done it a while it's easy. I knit a bunch of cotton string bags out of some stash yarn. They are strong, fold up tiny and REALLY expand.

Kelley aka
BratKnits

Taleah said...

I carry reusable bags, both ones from the grocery store and fold up little ones everwhere.

I love the looks I get when I tell people I have my own bag - or I don't want any bag at all.

Thanks for hosting such a great contest! You can never have enough reusable bags!

Liz G. said...

I started out the day doing this - and I didn't even know it was THE day to do it. I've got to go get the Christmas turkey tonight - and I'm going to bring my BIG bag for it.

Cheryl in VA said...

I also carry a big insulated freezer bag that I got a few years ago at Sam's Club. I take it with me into BJ's as well. The other thing we do is keep a collapsible crate in the back of the car and the van. That way we just load things in there. When I go to the grocery store with my German shopping basket, they all remember me and smile. "Your the lady who only puts groceries in the basket". That would be me.

Turtlemom said...

I continually fight with the baggers to get them to use my reusable bags at the grocery store and to pack them correctly so as not to damage the food. You think they would want to cut down on all those bags too. I have a few shopping bags in my car, but the rest in my house. It is hard to remember, but worth it!

Cindy said...

Happy holidays! We've had much more success using reusable bags since I leave one in the car and we have a bunch in the house . . . but somehow we always need more! :) Maybe it's the end-of-season CSA potatoes we're storing in them . . .
Cindy

Kitten With a Whiplash said...

Just back from shopping and this was not a problem for me as I keep a reusable shopping bag in my back pocket and another in my jacket pocket at all times. Since I haven't got a car, these two are enough for anything I might pick up while walking. For heavy-duty grocery shopping I use a "granny cart" and bring extra bags with me.

Meg said...

such a great idea! I'm in. I am always suprised by how checkers/salespeople seem confused when I don't want a bag and just stick it in my purse or another bag.

Anonymous said...

I remembered to take my bags in from the car today when I shopped. The stores here are quite used to people using their own bags now. Today one of the packers at the grocery store remarked that he wished more people used them. We have a large assortment of bags, some in each car. I really like finding new ones! And any of them can hold my knitting. :) samm @ravelry

Kristine in VA said...

I have several of those WF bags. They are great and hold tons of stuff. Plus I have three kiddos to carry things if I forget my bags, which are supposed to stay in the car, but doesn't always happen.

Janelle said...

I try to stash canvas bags in both cars and I keep some at the office, too. Never use bags for groceries! Also, a couple of years ago I asked my mom (who sews) to make me some assorted drawstring bags out of Christmas-y fabrics. She did, and I use them to wrap gifts in. They just need a tag, and you're done. I use them year after year and haven't bought wrapping paper in years. I love your farm and am waiting for a fiber CSA in south-central PA!

Sarah G said...

I ALWAYS forgot my cloth bags when I was out shopping so I've gotten in the habit of carrying a large cloth bag as my purse. Whenever I'm out and about I have enough room to put whatever I purchased in it. It's simplified my life and every time I use the bag I'm proud of myself!

yarn-sitter said...

It's still very cold and snowy in BC so I won't be venturing outside of my house today but when I grocery shop, I always take my re-usable bags with me. When I buy fresh produce I don't use the little produce bags either so when I get to the cash I put everything loose on the conveyor belt. The cashier is usually concerned about getting the other things in my bag wet.

Ange said...

Great challenge!

After my city announced a tax that will be placed on every plastic bag used at grocery stores and restaurants I have been more aware of how many plastic/paper bags we used.

I have canvas bags stuffed in the car, my purse, and by my door. I am so proud of myself to break the dependency.

Today and through the holiday season I will do my best to decline the retail bag and use my messenger bag or canvas bag.

A Guy said...

So I'm back from being out and about and I didn't get not even one disposable bag. Although it was hard at B&N, the cashier kept on insisting that I take a bag for my knitting mag... I finally talked him out of it. Shopping at the market was easier, I use reusable bags there most of the time - we keep a set in each car so that neither me or my wife are without.

Christina said...

I abstained from plastic bags today!! brought my own reusable bags to Target and the grocery store, and even denied a platic bag at the deli counter where I bought my lunch. I carry a huge purse with me, and stuck my sandwich in my purse :) Worked great!

Linda D said...

My house has always been tote bag heaven, no problem for me to use them! Today I carried out my lone purchase and the receipt in my hand!

Erin said...

So, I read about this before I went shopping and immediately put my canvas bag by my purse. The bag made it to the car with me, but wasn't interested in coming into Target with me. Rather than go back out to the car, I bought a new bag.

Elana said...

I live in Ireland, so we have a tax on plastic carrier bags. No one really gets them anymore, everyone carries their own bags with them. I score, cause I have the stroller and can hang bags off it :-). So was in the shop today, and pulled out my normal cloth bags to put stuff in. No one there thinks twice about it now, and it's totally cleaned up the hedgerows!!

JEN said...

I had no idea that this was happening today but how cool! I have gotten into the habit of using reusable bags when I shop for groceries, the mall, craft stores, etc. Today, I used one to carry my stuff from Office Depot home. I also did not know that WF replaced yours if they get a hole in them. I have one from Publix that recently ripped from a bagger shoving the bag against the side of the cart. I need to see if they will replace it.

bigevilgrape said...

I have been diligantly refusing to buy plastic bags. I keep some reusable ones in the seat to my scooter, that way when i open it up to get my lock I'm reminded to grab them. Then I can use it to cary my helmet around in until I go to check out.

Since its far too cold out right now I'm more apt to forget my bags, and juggle my purchases until I get to my car. Anyway I've had a bag free day and hope you made it too.

knitspot anne said...

to be honest we don't shop much in our household, but we have a whole menagerie of reusable bags that my husband is diligent about using when he goes for groceries (some are very old and some are even from other continents, and string bags that date back to our NYC days when we'd tuck one in our pockets each morning before heading out for work; you never know).

he just got back from his weekly marketing without any disposable bags in sight. yay.

Katom Burke said...

i didn't have much shopping to do today, but i carried my milk by the handle and put my tomatoes in my purse!

mom and dad said...

I have been using my own bags for several years now, ever since I visited CO and realized how eco-advanced they were compared to FL. I really confused the cashiers and bag boys for awhile here, but now they seem to be catching on.

The Knifty Knitter said...

I didn't shop today but I did carry all my left overs from a holiday party home in big shopping bags that people brought supplies in so at least they got reused once or twice. I also took all my packages to the post office in a reusable tote bag. I have 3 large shopping bags from Publix as well as 1 from Regions bank. I try and remember to use them everywhere!

--Deb said...

Well, I'm entirely successful in that I have NOT accepted a disposable bag from anyone today, but I also cheated in that I did nothing but go to work and come home, and as a rule, the office doesn't exactly hand out plastic bags, you know?

I DO carry bags in the car, but I'm dreadful at remembering to bring them in to the store. I do, howevcer, have a lovely tote bag that I bought on Martha's Vineyard at least 15 years ago that tells all about the evils of plastic bags on one side and the evils of paper on the other ... obviousl, plastic won. When's the last time you got a paper bag at the grocery store?

Grandmatutu said...

I've been doing this for years (before it was fashionable). It's amazing how some checkout people look at you like you're nuts when you refuse their bags! But I love it, and I'm glad everyday that I'm doing something for the environment. I won't accept any bags today or any day!!! YEAH . . . Susan--I'm so glad you're taking on this issue!!! Keep up the fabulous work you are doing.

Lynlee said...

I have a pattern I'm working on for a crocheted reusable bag. But I'm like you, half the time I forget them at home. I read this right before leaving to go do some shopping, and still left them at home! However, unlike you, I don't seem to be able to teach myself the lesson by doing the cart to trunk to bag to house thing.

Thankfully today, buying shoes doesn't really require a bag upon check-out, and neither did the 2 other items I got at another store. The LYSO did, however, help my kiddo wrap her Holiday gift to me (in a reused bag from one of her manufacturers since she knows I don't like bags) but I figure that one is forgivable.

So, anyway, YAY on the no grocery store bags!

missfire said...

I packed all of my holiday gifts in reusable bags (pattern at www.morsbags.com) this year.

Thursdays in my house are Veggie Day! So I picked up to wonderful bags of local grown organic veggies from my friends at Garden of Eden Organics. Now to figure out how to convince the CSA to use reusable produce bags for small stuff like spinach and cherry tomatoes . . .

Nonya said...

I did not accept any disposable bags today during a trip to the store.
Generally I use fabric bags, or even no bags if it is just and armful of stuff. New cashiers always make the best faces at that.
Pockets, and arms are just as good at carrying as any plastic or paper bag could be.
Today two oranges and a can of soup snuggled in my coat pockets while apples, 5 lbs of potatoes and a half gallon of eggnog were carried in a reusable bag. The cashier had to stifle a laugh when the the oranges went in my coat.
I walk to and from the store, so it must have been a sight.

Jenibug said...

I try hard to keep at least one bag in my car for those unexpected stops I make when I remember I need something on my way home from work. I don't always remember to put it back in the car after I use it, or to take it in with me. When I do that, I refuse the single use bags and just buy another reusable bag, my penance for being a knuckle head.

When I lived in Germany many many years ago they didn't give out bags, for free or charge. You had to bring your own. Almost everyone brought baskets. You even used the baskets as your "cart". I loved it so it wasn't a stretch to start using recyclable bags here a year or so ago.

I didn't go shopping today, work and an impending ice storm kept me from that fun thing. But I did go yesterday and like a dink I forgot my bag. Now I have a new bag in the car, I bought it and when I got home I hand carried my items up to the house, leaving the bag in the car.

I'd love having an MVFF bag to remember in my car... grin.

Anonymous said...

I did it! I love my reusable bags and my kids are the best at reminding me. I forgot a bag for my last stop, but refused a plastic bag and each of us just loaded up our arms and carted our stuff to the car. I'm sure we were a site, Mama and her 3 little ducks in tow.
-Kelly

Turtle said...

lol, hubby had dropped me at the store entrance and ran to refuel as we are supposed to be 17 degrees tonight and fuel was spent in the 4 hours of traffic for 35 miles due to the storm. So he comes in to meet me with none of our bags. We did the self check out and just put everything loose back into our cart and then loaded our bags in the back of the jeep! Got a few looks and i was afraid someone would run out of the store thinking we were shoplifting but no, it all worked out!

vanessa.e. said...

I am cuurently living in the southwest, but always bring along my red canvas Cronigs tote to the grocery store with me!! it holds just the right amount, so I don't end up buying more than I need!

Christie said...

Just got back from the store and remembered my bags. Not only do i help out the planet by using my bags, but I also save money since my store gives me a nickel for each bag used off my grocery bill! Yeah me!

Lauria @ Brackenbury Lane said...

I did it! I refused a disposable bag today! :) Only one because I only went shopping once, (the rest of the day was spent in the hospital while my husband underwent a battery of tests before his surgery on Monday), but I always try to catch the cashier before (s)he gives me a bag whenever possible. We do reuse plastic bags in our home, but recently it's gotten out of control! I really need some reusable bags of my own, but I don't want to buy them when I can make them and I keep working on other projects. Some MVFF resuable bags would be AWESOME, though!

Thanks for reminding us to do our part. :)

Bunny Queen said...

I did minimal shopping today, but did manage to avoid the bags completely. It did take three reminders to the associate at Barnes & Noble in order for the book to not be bagged. Normally they are much better. I love my reusable bags and have gotten to where I don't mind taking one store's cloth bags to another store. As one manager put it, "Hey, you're shopping *here*. Who cares what bag you use."

Funniest/saddest bag story: I was in a Cub grocery store with Cub cloth bags and was asked by one employee and two shoppers I found the bags. Um.... right at the end of the register line, about 8 feet away, and where you all just walked past them. *sigh*

MJ said...

I keep a stash of cloth bags in the car, and one in my purse. If they try to put my stuff in a plastic bag I just say "Save a petrochemical." This usually gets a smile, and people are certainly more aware of the value of petrochemicals now than they were a year ago.

miss ewe said...

I did it! All day, not a single plastic bag... even with the Christmas shopping, music book shop trip AND the groceries. I usually try to take cloth bags with me, but sometimes I do forget, and there never seem to be quite enough of them. My favourites are the ones I have that roll up into almost nothing and live in the bottom of my purse!

Good work today, everybody!

Elizabeth said...

Well, I didn't do any shopping yesterday, so I can't claim to have refused any bags. But we have a handful of reusuable bags in the car, plus a bunch hanging in the closet to grab on our way out the door when grocery shopping. So we try our hardest! And we reuse the plastic bags we do get as garbage bags, so they get recycled at least once and we're not buying any new trash bags. I think we would do well with the Ireland model--charge for bags. The instant you do that, everyone starts to remember to bring their own bag. Last year I made the everlasting bagstopper as Christmas gifts for family and they were a big hit.

Anonymous said...

No plastic bags today. I keep bags in my car.
Billie

Joan said...

Well, your reminder worked for me - I have all the bags in my trunk and usually forget to bring them in, but yesterday I remembered! Brought in 5 bags, filled 4 1/2. The really sad thing, though, is that I dropped $90, and got probably enough food to feed my son for 3 days (if I'm lucky).

Meg said...

I used an a craft fair tote bag this afternoon instead of a plastic bag to take stuff back and forth between my mom's and packed my lunch in it today.

Jenny said...

YAAAAYYY!!! This is one of my favorite "causes," ever since the moment I found out that it takes 1000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. All I could think about was an earth covered in plastic Market Basket and CVS bags. Since then if it is remotely possible for me to carry my stuff without a bag, I ask them to please put the bags back and that I don't need them. What i love is when they automatically put your like, one tube of chapstick into a bag, and then put that bag into another bag, just to be SAFE, because the chapstick COULD, of course, break through that first one.

It's like stupid Dunkin Donuts and their hot cupping (INSISTING that you need to put your iced coffee cup INTO ANOTHER, STYROFOAM CUP.

LAME.

I can't participate in this one, but I'm GLAD YOU DID IT!

Hillary Dickman said...

I had to make a last minute trip to Walgreens to pick up prescriptions for my dad and his wife. I forgot my reusable bag but I asked the checkout lady not to bag it, so she didn't. Then when I was paying she did bag the stuff. Said she had "short term memory loss" and handed me the bag. I said, "That's okay!" and took the items out of the bag, leaving the bag on the counter. As I walked away with an armful of prescription bags, the end of one of the prescription bags split open and dad's pill bottles scattered around the aisle. Oops. Next time I'll remember my canvas bag. :)