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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

My lifestyle is about as green as any New Yorker. I have my AC running all the time, and there are lights on all Shabbat, but I also walk or take mass transit whenever possible, and it's mostly possible. I only drive a car if I have no other choice.

So there's definitely room for improvement, and I decided to make one. For the past several years, I've been buying those reusable grocery bags, the $1 ones they sell in the supermarkets, but I've been using them as knitting bags. They make great knitting bags.

But there's going to be a bag tax and even though Glatt Mart has the BEST plastic shopping bags around - usable as tote bags themselves - it's still a waste to get new ones all the time. So I now have three cloth bags that are not destined to hold knitting.

Why three bags? Because they hold about the same amount as five or six plastic ones, which is generally speaking the largest non-Yom Tov shopping I do. One of them is small enough I can fold it up into my purse, too, so when I leave the house, I can just put it there in case I need it. I can also just stuff two of them into the third and carry them that way. I still have to think about taking them.

Those of you who do this and who use a car - what do you do? Remember to grab them when you leave the house, as I do? Leave some in the car at all times? Do you take them only when you know you'll be shopping or do you have them in case you stop in the grocery store on the way home from work?

There are several things I've realized. One is that these are MUCH EASIER and more comfortable than plastic bags. Two of them have straps long enough to fit over my shoulder. This makes carrying them very easy. The third has too small a strap, but it's still more comfortable in my hand than plastic.

Another is how visible they are. Everyone else carries orange plastic. I'm carrying white, black and green non-woven cloth. I'm already a little different, with my convention t-shirts, fanny pack and very non-stylish purse, and now I look really odd. More people will think I'm a vegetarian.

(People do think I'm a vegetarian. I have absolutely no idea why.)

They also make me a bit more organized - i have to put even non-perishables away properly or I'll lose the use of the bags. And I can't stuff a bag of veggies into the fridge, either. And, of course, I have to remember to take one or all. I am thinking of emptying out one of my red ones, though, and asking that that be used for any meat.

See, I may bring my own bags, but I do NOT do my own bagging.


I've been thinking about leaving them in the car because I've forgotten mine a time or two. I have two plasticy ones, a large one I got free from Earthbound Farms, and a Kroger one, and I'm also using an old canvas tote bag that happened to have Reuse reduce recycle printed on it. And an old beach bag.

I usually have meat plastic-bagged at the store anyway because I'm afraid of blood drip and I'm not sure if any of them but the tote can be washed.

I very rarely (can count on the fingers of one hand)see anyone else using reusable bags, even though every store is selling them now.

Glatt Mart has smaller, thinner plastic bags they use for meat and sushi containers. I still ask them to use those - I don't want meat drippings in my bags, either.

I do reuse the plastic bags though. We use them for garbage bags. And the bakery thrift and farm markets are always looking for clean ones.

I do wonder if those plasticized reusable bags can be washed, though. Next time I go shopping, I think I'll see if anyone at the service desk knows.

I put one of the plasticized reusable bags through the wash fairly recently. It actually held up much better than the canvas.