Do you know that we Americans use around 84 billion plastic bags annually? (I know I’ve probably got a cool million or so stuffed in the kitchen drawers and pantry.) What’s worse is what happens when the bags end up in the landfill: they don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits and contaminating soil and waterways.
So when I saw these cool black reusable grocery bags for a mere $1 each, I bought ten. (Disclosure time: the bags are from Wal-Mart. I know, I know, the mega-retailer has a long way to go to become an eco-friendly company. But Wal-Mart’s management is improving its environmental practices, and the company’s prices on organic foods are hard to beat.) The bags are made from 85% recycled materials — including 4 plastic soda bottles — and they can carry the same weight as 2 to 3 plastic shopping bags.
It was time to try out the new bags, but I’m ashamed to say that during the next two trips to the grocery store I forgot to take them inside. I didn’t remember my newfound zeal to use my eco-bags at all, in fact, until the checker was halfway done with my order and the bagger said “Are plastic bags okay?” I solved that by writing “BRING BAGS INSIDE” at the top of my grocery list. (It’s a pity that my brain is so compromised, but that’s what happens when you kill too many brain cells in your youth.)
I remembered the bags today, and tucked them in my grocery cart. I wondered if the bagger would say anything, but the checker just handed the bags to her and she happily packed my groceries in the bags. $40 worth of groceries fit into just two bags. When she was done, she said “Don’t forget to credit her for her bags!” to the checker, and he opened the cash register and handed me a dime! That’s right, King Soopers gives you 5 cents each if you reuse a bag. The checker explained that you could even bring your plastic bags in to reuse them, and you’ll get the rebate. So check with your local store and see if a similar program is offered, and “Sack it To ‘Em!”