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Greener Shopping

For the past year, I’ve been working on greenifying our lives. Safer cleansers, natural (non-antibacterial) soaps, and less waste.

It’s been a tough undertaking — reusable dryer sheets just didn’t do it for us. And the ones we tried – Method – still had waste when all was said and done: the sheets themselves, the plastic container they came in, and the plastic bag I had to keep them in to keep them fresh.

But don’t get me wrong, we love most of the Method stuff we use.

We also have yet to give up Fantastik. Although we use Method cleaners for almost everything, the natural cleaners just weren’t enough for getting the kitchen spotless. We tried Mrs. Meyers and others as well. But ultimately, we still keep some Fantastik handy for tough spills. We do love Mrs. Meyers for dish soap though.

Our garbage is still going into plastic bags because I haven’t found an acceptable alternative (that the garbage man will accept too) yet.

We have however tried to cut back on waste and succeeded. I purchase less and try to avoid unnecessary purchases. We don’t always succeed, but we sure try.

And just recently, I invested in some reusable bags. At about $1.40 at Stew Leonard’s, they were a good deal (and no shipping, since I bought them in-store). I’ve also picked up two bags that snap closed for easy transporting at Target – a smaller one for $1 and a larger one for about $1.50. These are handy to keep in the diaper bag for unexpected purchases. In fact, the day after I bought them, I used the large one for a purchase. I was shocked to find that it’s as large as a shopping bag from a department store. Nice. The smaller one is about the size of a standard plastic grocery bag.

It took me almost a year to get these bags. Why? I debated the merits of buying some very pretty bags I saw on Amazon and other places. I considered whether the store ones would be good enough and if I would mind advertising for them like that . . . ultimately, I decided that my own indecision was doing nothing good for the environment. Even if I purchased these four bags and bought designer ones later, I would have spent only a few dollars in the meantime and saved many plastic bags – a shopping trip pre-reusable usually netted 5-6 plastic bags. Now, everything fits into two or three canvas bags.

Am I going to buy the expensive designer ones? Probably not. My canvas ones have nice, sturdy bottoms and are easy . . . I don’t really need to spend more money on bags that are pretty . . . I managed to shop for 20-some-odd years without designer shopping bags, why start now?


Parmesan Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries
The Best Garlic Bread EVER


Monday 14th of April 2008

Reusable bags are great, I just wish I could remember to bring them to the store.

I try to use the self check-out and pack my own bags, because I really don't like how the clerks pack them. I can fit most of my stuff in one or two bags if I don't do major shopping, while the clerk would use almost one bag per item. It's such a waste!

Cate O'Malley

Sunday 13th of April 2008

Perfect timing! I bought three of Trader Joes reusable bags yesterday, including a very cool insulated one for 1.99. Another nice canvas one at Whole Foods for 2.29. I reuse whatever plastic bags we get, and one of our grocery stores gives 2 cents for every bag of my own I bring in. Little things really add up...