I freak out every time I go to Kroger without planning on the trip. The reason I get so worked up is not over my lack of grocery list, or plan for what to buy, it's usually that I forgot to put my bags in the car. What do I mean by bags? I have a whole assortment of cloth bags and a few paper bags that I try to bring with me every time I go to the grocery store.
Kroger seems to be the worst at getting rid of their plastic and burdening them on me. I have counted the bags, and one trip alone, I left the store with 50 plastic bags, no exaggeration. Here's how they add up: My eggs usually leave the store in two or three bags, without a single additional item added in the bag. Same thing with my bread- each loaf in a bag or two by itself. I figure it's their way of saying "it didn't get damaged by the bagger, it must have happened when you loaded up your car". Or maybe they think we will say, "wow, look how many bags of groceries I got for my money, I'm really saving big at Kroger".
There is no way on earth I can use all of the plastic bags again. Sure I use them to pick up dog poop, or as plastic liners in the kitchen garbage can, and even to contain a soilded diaper when we are on the road. But there is no way I can use 50 by my next shopping trip.
So this is why I keep so many cloth bags in my car. In fact, my whole family or at least most of my sisters and parents does the same thing. I knew I was making a difference when my daughter of 3 said to the sales clerk, while out with my mother in law (who doesn't believe in recycling) "oh, we don't need a bag" . So maybe slowly it will rub off on everyone slowly, but it needs to start at home.
Here's a cleaver idea for when you are out and about and forget to bring a bag with you.
My feeling is that with the introduction of plastic bags, the art of bagging groceries has died at the supermarket. Having bagged groceries while working at the food co-op throughout college, I especially resent the "one item per bag" style found in most grocery stores.
So my solution to never being caught without bags is to store them in my car. I keep a bunch of cloth bags in my car at all times. And let me give you some further advice: after you've unpacked your groceries, don't leave the cloth bags in a heap on the floor for the afternoon or the rest of the week. Put them back in your car! And then you will be guaranteed to live free of plastic bags. This system works so well for me, that I have to occasionally mooch plastic bags from my mother. They do come in handy every once in a while!
I am so inspired by the fact that your daughter said "we don't need a bag" while out with her grandma. For me, that's more than a comment on the bag issue, it's a reflection on all of the opportunities that staying home with your kids offers you to make an impression on them by example, rather than just with words. That's awesome. krm
Thanks for all of the comments and passions addressed over the plastic bag ideas. Maybe one day the stores will start charging for the plastic bags. Only then will everyone stop to think...."hmmm, do I really need this bag?"
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