Bag It

October 16, 2008

According to more than a billion single-use plastic bags are packed with purchases and handed out every day. Besides multiplying in your house faster than a family of rabbits, these plastic bags do some serious damage to the environment. Creating the bags takes plenty of nonrenewable resources such as petroleum and natural gas. And with the way gas prices are right now, it seems downright stupid to be wasting these precious resources on flimsy little plastic bags. During the manufacturing process, energy is wasted and the air gets polluted with toxic emissions that contribute to global warming. Then comes the aftermath. All of those billions of bags have to go somewhere. And they take up to 1000 years to degrade into the soil (which causes toxic contamination).

The easy solution is simply to bring your own reusable bags. Luckily this idea is catching on. So you have more options than ever when it comes to toting your own grocery tote. (Plus, you won't feel like a consumer outcast when you pull it out, firmly declining to use the store's plastic bag.) Reusable bags are also a great way to package up a gift for a friend or family member. You'll be saving (the earth and money) on wrapping paper, and the recipient will be able to start carrying purchases the environmentally smarter way. Here are a few of my favorites:

I've used the  Colorful Expandable Totes from for years. They are simple, classic and convenient. Made with organic cotton (love that!), they're high quality and last forever. When you're not using them, they smash up nicely, taking up very little space. And they expand to fit just a little or a lot. is a great resource. At every price point you can find tons of options for reusable bags including the popular Acme Bags Workhorse Style. It's seriously light and even comes with a storage pouch that's attached inside the bag (you won't loose it after the worst time you've used it). Made through fair trade practices, the sleek design is also male-friendly. So your husband won't mind toting it out of the store for you.

The Lovely Recycled Day Trip Tote from comes in three styles that each makes a different statement (literally) about being green with fun graphics printed on a bag made exclusively from recycled cotton and recycled soda bottles. Envirosax makes an amazing array of colorful, waterproof, reusable grocery bags raved about in magazines like People, InStyle and O The Oprah Magazine and used by celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Eva Longoria and Kyra Sedgewick. They're super large, waterproof and absolutely gorgeous. Between the solid-hued Green Grocer Series, the nature-inspired Organic Series  and the vibrant Graphic Series, there's over 40 styles to choose from. Trust me, you're going to want more than one. Another seriously stylish option is from b. happybags., made in the USA through fair trade practices. The pretty designs are lightweight, easy to store and have handles long enough to put over your shoulder. I personally adore the Catherine style. But with over 25 bags available, go ahead and try to choose your favorite.