Reusable bags might seem like a fad since cloth grocery totes are popping up everywhere, but trendy or not, cloth totes are much more than a fashion accessory.
1. Good for animals and the environment. Using your own bags means that more plastic bags won’t end up in a landfill or other places where wildlife can become entangled in them or eat them.
2. Save money. Many grocery stores offer a discount when you take your own bags. When checking out, ask your cashier if the store offers bag discounts. Typically you can get around five cents per bag. On average, if you shop each week and use about five bags, you could save about $13 per year. Hey, every little bit helps!
3. Easy activism. If you choose totes with a message, you can be a walking billboard for your cause. Check out PETA’s grocery totes.
4. Sturdy transport for your precious cargo. Cloth totes are much sturdier and less likely to cave under pressure than plastic or paper bags. So no more panicking that your plastic bag might split and shatter your organic marmalade in the parking lot.
5. Help keep clutter down. Back when I used to use plastic bags, I always tended to have this storage dilemma for them. They would pile up under my sink or in the pantry and would sort of squeeze out onto the floor when the storage bin became too full.
If you’re planning on making the switch to reusable bags and still have a plethora of plastic bags filling up your cupboards—recycle them! Many grocery stores have recycling bins specifically for plastic bags. For a listing of stores in your area that accept plastic bags, visit plasticbagrecycling.org.