General chatter - Grocery Bags




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srmb60
01-19-2009, 12:45 PM
With an eye toward the state of our landfills, more and more grocery stores in Ontario are contemplating charging 5 cents for plastic bags. Some already do. This has been on the news a lot lately.
My clerk wasn't busy this morning so I asked her about reusable bags. She says that a lot of folks have them but very often, forget to bring them.
How are you doing?


Kim_Star060404
01-19-2009, 12:48 PM
I use them every time I go (I keep a few in my work bag, in case there's an emergency trip.)

The only times I don't take them is when we need bags to put trash in, then I ask for paper.


ETA: I hate all the rude glares from other customers that I get when I take them, though. They think it means that they'll be in line longer because it takes longer to bag, but it doesn't. My bags hold up to 30 lbs. easily, so fewer bags to fill means less time between bags fiddling with getting another bag. Plus, I usually don't move up to a register line until the bags are open, unfolded and ready to be filled.

Suzanne 3FC
01-19-2009, 12:49 PM
I don't always remember them, but do try. I think charging for bags is a great idea. We have one store that actually donates a nickle to charity for each bag you bring of your own.


JuliaDH
01-19-2009, 12:54 PM
I like the donation idea! I keep mine in the van. When I finish unpacking I send a kid back out with them to the van for the next trip. A few weeks ago hubby brought the emptys in thinking he was helping. Of course I forgot them...so I used the boxes that Food Basics have available for packing. Then the kids kept them, coloured them, and I had a 1 race car, 1 spaceship and a cat play box in the living room for a week!

modkittn
01-19-2009, 01:02 PM
I always remember mine. They are on a hook right next to my door, so its hard to forget them. Once you use them often, you get used to it and forget them less and less. I've been using re-usable bags now for almost 3 years.

srmb60
01-19-2009, 01:03 PM
I don't mind boxes (if I have the car) I use them as a base to build garden beds over.

I always take my black bag when I go to run errands. I throw my wallet and keys in the bottom so I can get the mail and anything I buy, just goes in the bag. Remembering to take them in the car is another story.

PearFreak
01-19-2009, 01:13 PM
I have a bunch, keep some in the back of the truck and some inside. Our stores give you a 5-cent credit per bag you reuse. A yay for the economy now adays.

nelie
01-19-2009, 01:15 PM
I can't remember how long its been since I've actually thrown away or even recycled a plastic grocery bag. We use plastic grocery bags a bit because well we have 2 dogs. We also use paper grocery bags as well.

I do forget my reusable bags sometimes but not often.

cbmare
01-19-2009, 01:57 PM
I use my own bags quite a bit. There has been noise coming out of San Francisco about charging for grocery bags. I think that idea is total crap. They are talking about it for grocery stores not Macy's and other stores who have big bags not those little plastic ones. Those are out in the streets as well. It is not just grocery bags littering the streets.

Some grocery stores give 5-cents others 3-cents and some 0. I still use my own whenever possible.

What are they going to do if they need to put something like a meat tray in one? Charge you for it? Can you refuse?

I've told many ladies to put their purse in one when they get into the car. They won't forget their puse, therefore will remember a bag.

alinnell
01-19-2009, 02:00 PM
I use my reusable bags about 90% of the time. I keep them in my car, so there really is no excuse, but when I'm running in to buy only 1 or 2 items, I often forget to grab them and stick them in my purse. There are those other times, though, when I buy far too much for my six bags and then I have to use mine plus a few from the store.

srmb60
01-19-2009, 02:16 PM
Another problem is that my reusable bags grow legs and walk. I should have about a dozen but can only find 5!

nelie
01-19-2009, 02:18 PM
What are they going to do if they need to put something like a meat tray in one? Charge you for it? Can you refuse?


Well you are basically buying a bag, you can not buy a bag if you want. In many countries, bags aren't part of the shopping experience and you are expected to bring your own. I know I go to Costco and I don't get a bag which isn't a problem.

lizziep
01-19-2009, 03:37 PM
i have them and sometimes i do forget to use them. a lot actually and then i feel guilty. :C we have Market of Choice where I live and at first they made "plastic" bags that were made out of recycled and biodegradable materials but they just completely stopped. Now your only choice there is a paper bag. I think Trader Joes is that way too.
We never use a box or a bag when we go to Costco.
I think for me it's just a matter of getting the habit of doing it- I try to keep them in the car to help remind me.

RN BSN 2009
01-19-2009, 03:39 PM
I keep plenty in my car at all times so no matter when I go, I will remember them!

mandalinn82
01-19-2009, 03:40 PM
Costco has FABULOUS giant re-useables. I bring those when I go there...they're really good for hefting the crazy large costco packages of things.

I have a big collection. Usually I walk to the grocery store with two bags, and they make it a LOT easier to bring my groceries home (instead of a bag in each hand, I get one over each shoulder...much easier)

Ruthxxx
01-19-2009, 03:43 PM
I almost always use them except when I'm buying drippy chicken. I keep them in the car, unload them and immediately hang them on the doorknob so they go back to the car.

stellarwbz
01-19-2009, 03:48 PM
Well since I moved to California I've used them a couple times, but I mostly forget them. I usually ask for paper when I am at the grocery store because I use those to recycle cans and bottles in. When it comes to plastic bags I re use them as trash bags. Saves money on buying trash bags.

JulieJ08
01-19-2009, 03:49 PM
The plastic store bags all have little holes in the bottom to protect toddlers trying to suffocate themselves, so I'd never be very confident about them containing drippy raw chicken.

Glory87
01-19-2009, 04:10 PM
I like plastic grocery bags and I will be sad when they're gone. I re-use mine - I use them to clean the catbox and to carry my lunch to work everyday (differerent bags, obviously ;))

zeffryn
01-19-2009, 04:26 PM
We re-use all of the plastic bags that we bring home, but we bring our own for the most part. Unfortunately, since the supermarket that I shop at most often bags the groceries for you they frown if you bring your own bag because it means that they can't just run on auto-pilot. I've actually had cashiers bag the groceries in plastic bags and then put the plastic bags inside of my reusable bags...duh...

We would pay a fortune for plastic bags if they charged for them -- for the most part, our stores bag the groceries for you and the cashiers regularly put only one or two items in each bag. If we do opt for plastic bags, we spend a ton of time re-bagging items and then leaving the bags for other people to use.

Also, when our plastic bags get too worn to use again (we often use them way more than once, especially for bringing lunches) they go to the recycling bin.

OnlyWomanInTheHouse
01-19-2009, 04:33 PM
We have used reusable bags for a few years now. I like them a lot!

FrouFrou
01-19-2009, 04:44 PM
I would say I forget them about 90% of the time which is sad. I even tried leaving them in the car, and then hanging on the coat rack on the way out the door...still forget them. Our local grocer pays .05 for each bag you use too! Now if Wal-Mart would start doing that that would be great!

Kim_Star060404
01-19-2009, 04:50 PM
The plastic store bags all have little holes in the bottom to protect toddlers trying to suffocate themselves, so I'd never be very confident about them containing drippy raw chicken.

The ones at our store don't. :shrug: DH uses them for conditioning his rawhide for sewing. He fills them with water and then lets the rawhide soak. He can usually get 10 or 15 soaks per bag. I've used them before to take drippy soup to the dumpster and they don't leak a bit. I just carry the bag through the house and out the front door with no need for mopping up.

Maybe there are different standards for bags in different states/countries?

alinnell
01-19-2009, 04:59 PM
Albertson's takes .05 off your bill for every bag you bring in and use.

Thighs Be Gone
01-19-2009, 05:03 PM
I always forget the dadgum things. I predict they (mostly) will eventually land in a fill just like all the others.

JuliaDH
01-19-2009, 06:34 PM
I also reuse the bags milk comes in. bread/bagel bags. The are great for pickup up after the dog. The bread bags if tied properly can hold two pick ups because they are longer.

kestrel
01-19-2009, 06:56 PM
I've had reusable bags for about 2 years now, but it took me a while to get used to bringing them with me. If I don't immediately get them all stuffed back into one bag and ready to go back into the car right after a grocery trip then I'll end up forgetting them. I usually have an extra Chico bag or two in the car for quick trips.

At grocery stores and drug stores in Seattle, shoppers are now charged $0.20 per bag for each plastic or paper bag they use.

Wolf Goddess
01-19-2009, 09:07 PM
I forgot them the first couple of grocery trips after buying them, but recently I've taken them each time.

Suzanne 3FC
01-19-2009, 10:40 PM
Estimates for plastic bag use range from 500 Billion to 1 Trillion bags worldwide per year. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce every 100 Billion bags.

If I screw up and forget mine, I don't mind paying the fine. Hopefully I'll be more careful next time.

VermontMom
01-19-2009, 10:50 PM
Unfortunately, since the supermarket that I shop at most often bags the groceries for you they frown if you bring your own bag because it means that they can't just run on auto-pilot.

LOL, same here, I have to make eye contact with the bagger and just about wave my tote bags in the air saying "I have these, please" :D

Another problem is that my reusable bags grow legs and walk. I should have about a dozen but can only find 5!

haha, some of mine have gone over the wall also :eek:

I use a few reusables also for our returnable empties; after redeeming the empties I have a couple bags for shopping right then and there.

WebRover
01-19-2009, 11:07 PM
We use the reusable bags. They go by the garage door when empty, and get returned to the trunk of the car on the next trip out. I have a large cooler bag I keep them in in the trunk. The hardest thing is to remember to take them back into the store. I'm getting better at remembering. Only Aldi charges for bags AFAIK in this area (west coast of Florida). I ask for raw meat to be placed in a plastic bag and then put in the reusable bag.

I will say, we managed to destroy a couple bags by missing the brie cheese in the bottom of one bag, placing the bags back in the trunk, and having the car parked in July sun in Florida for three days before we figured out where the brie disappeared to. EEEeeeewwww!

gigglez
01-19-2009, 11:43 PM
Use the good ole paper and plastic for free. Those stores that are charging you to use a bag of theirs are making a profit off of you. Those bags help advertise, how many have said that they take their lunch in one of the plastic bags. When it comes to the cost of the plastic bags there is an average cost of 1/10th of a cent per page or at least that is what they cost at the store that I run. We have but bags out to sell to get ppl to use the reusable bags but it this part of the country that are not many ppl who want to use them.....most ppl want the plastic bags for trash bags and the paper ones to use to ripen fruits in and to wrap gifts in.

Suzanne 3FC
01-20-2009, 12:45 AM
Gigglez, many people in your area may prefer the plastic bags because reusables are new to them, but they will eventually adapt especially as they become educated to the true cost of the bags. Our environment is paying the price and it's a hefty one. I live in TN, so I have encountered what you encounter -areas like ours are slower to catch on. I lived in England in 2000-2001 and purchasing reusable bags was already very popular over there back then. They were ahead of us in this area. I can't believe it's taken America so long to catch up, considering the massive damage we're doing. And we haven't completely reformed, as you say there are still people that look for the 'free' bags to use for lunch or trash. But there are better options, it just takes a while for it to catch on, I guess.

I really don't think the bags are true advertising. Most people will never notice the name on the bag and they shop their favorite stores anyway.

nicolen
01-20-2009, 12:55 AM
I love the reusable bags. I don't drive, so I walk home from the supermarket with the groceries, and the reusable bags are so much easier to carry. Plus I don't have to run the risk of the bags splitting when I'm halfway home...

They fold down so well, so I can keep a couple in the bottom of my pack and I'm set.

Supermarkets here have been talking about charging people for plastic bags, and I think it's a fantastic idea. The number of plastic bags you get is just absurd, it really is. Other shops here are moving to reusable bags, or even no bags where practical - seriously, do you need a bag for a couple of small items?

BerkshireGrl
01-20-2009, 01:00 AM
I have 6 cloth bags but I have to admit I forget them in the back seat or the trunk about 25% of the time :( Then I kick myself when I go to check out! I'll try to do better, argh! ;) I should put them in the passenger footwell so I SEE them on my way to the store.

BerkshireGrl
01-20-2009, 01:04 AM
...we managed to destroy a couple bags by missing the brie cheese in the bottom of one bag...

:rofl: :T Tasty!

ennay
01-20-2009, 01:18 AM
I have 6 cloth bags but I have to admit I forget them in the back seat or the trunk about 25% of the time :( Then I kick myself when I go to check out! I'll try to do better, argh! ;) I should put them in the passenger footwell so I SEE them on my way to the store.

Someone the other day pointed out the obvious solution to this (which is also my problem - and I have even left them on the passenger seat after digging my purse out from UNDERNEATH them:o) She just has the checker reload the groceries back in to the cart unbagged and puts them in the bags when she gets to the car.

I have use for some of the plastic and paper ones - but dear god not even our friends who use plastic ones as pooperscoops for their 4 large dogs can use as many plastics as you get. And I use the paper because here for awhile we were required to sort our recycleables into paper sacks for collection, but again that is like 10% of what you would get shopping.

lizziep
01-20-2009, 01:35 AM
thanks to this thread i remembered mine today and walked out of a huge walmart trip - groceries and all- with only one of their bags and the rest mine!

ProteinGal
01-20-2009, 01:58 AM
I bought a bunch of black cloth bags from the Coop for 99cents each. I use them all the time. When I unload my groceries I leave them on the counter and once I leave the house I throw them in the back of my car.

Hyacinth
01-20-2009, 03:18 AM
I always remember to bring them with me. I always remember to keep some extras in the car. I do NOT always remember to bring them INTO the store when I go shopping! I'd realize while standing in line that I left them in the car.

I solved this problem by buying a chicobag, which is this little nylon thing that folds up into its own attached pouch, which fits in my purse. And, the pouch has a clip, so you can attach it to the outside of your purse if you need to ... or wear it on a belt loop as a fashion accessory, I suppose (joking). Anyway, I'm thrilled that I've not taken a plastic bag from a store in months!

I live in a fairly progressive city, but I still get snotty looks from the kids bagging the groceries when I hand them my bag. I just stare them down, that works quite well.

Great thread! I'm glad the reusable-bag thing is catching on. :)

flatiron
01-20-2009, 12:11 PM
I have a bunch of the cloth bags from at least 5 stores. I use them a lot but I don't keep them in my SUV or truck I keep them at home. I'll take them if I am at home and decide to go to the grocery but many times I'll be already on the road and decide at the last minute to stop in which case I'll get some of those plastic bags.

Luckily the store where I shop at you can bring the bags back and put them in a recycle box just for the bags.

Personally I think the stores should stop providing them It's not that hard to get 3 or 4 cloth bags and they hold twice as much. When you think of the millions and millions of bags being used many times just once it isn't neccessary.

And the grocery stores you know spen millions maybe billions on them across the US maybe they could come down a little on the prices a little if they didn't have to provide them.

I remember Rack & Sack when I lived down in New Orleans and the Bottom Dollar stores around me now sell stuff cheaper because they don't provide bags and you bag it yourself.

I went to the Bottom Dollar yesterday and their can goods and meat is cheap, cheap cheaped compared to the other chains around here.

But I STILL love going to Trader Joes for all the good stuff! AND ... I have two cool Trader Joe bags of course! :)

nelie
01-20-2009, 01:17 PM
Gigglez, many people in your area may prefer the plastic bags because reusables are new to them, but they will eventually adapt especially as they become educated to the true cost of the bags. Our environment is paying the price and it's a hefty one. I live in TN, so I have encountered what you encounter -areas like ours are slower to catch on. I lived in England in 2000-2001 and purchasing reusable bags was already very popular over there back then. They were ahead of us in this area. I can't believe it's taken America so long to catch up, considering the massive damage we're doing. And we haven't completely reformed, as you say there are still people that look for the 'free' bags to use for lunch or trash. But there are better options, it just takes a while for it to catch on, I guess.

I really don't think the bags are true advertising. Most people will never notice the name on the bag and they shop their favorite stores anyway.

Here here! My mom was saying when she lived in Germany 30 (!) years ago, no store provided bags, people brought their own. I wonder why its taken us so long to catch up with other countries.

mayness
01-20-2009, 02:58 PM
I have 3 big reusable bags, but I forget them about half the time. I do use plastic bags for a lot of other stuff (lunches, garbage bags for my tiny garbage cans, bringing my wet towel back from the gym, etc) and I always recycle extras or ones with holes or whatnot.

My husband didn't want me to keep them in the truck... but he never looks in the back seat anyway so I just need to sneak them back out there. ;) I could probably use a few more, but the store that makes the best ones around here (Wegmans - they're huge, sturdy, and usually $0.99) is kinda far away and I haven't been there lately.

Fressca
01-20-2009, 03:07 PM
Here here! My mom was saying when she lived in Germany 30 (!) years ago, no store provided bags, people brought their own. I wonder why its taken us so long to catch up with other countries.

I grew up in Scotland through the seventies, and when my Mum went shopping, she always took a basket with her for the groceries.

I have the bags and like to use them, but I often leave them at home, in the car, etc. I am getting better, though!

PearFreak
01-20-2009, 03:08 PM
I also reuse the bags milk comes in. bread/bagel bags. The are great for pickup up after the dog. The bread bags if tied properly can hold two pick ups because they are longer.

Your milk comes in a bag? Hmmm, I may sound stumped at that, because I've never known it to come in a bag. Please explain it to me :o :?: ~TIA ;)

PearFreak
01-20-2009, 03:10 PM
But I STILL love going to Trader Joes for all the good stuff! AND ... I have two cool Trader Joe bags of course! :)

I love my Trader Joe's Bags. I have the insulated velcro topped ones. Seeing as TJ's isn't all that close to my house, I like them, as they keep my perishables nice and chilly. :D

srmb60
01-20-2009, 05:29 PM
We can buy milk in bags.
You get three bags like this ...
http://gamesnet.vo.llnwd.net/o1/gamestar/objects/201265_main.jpg
... in a bigger bag. It's 4 litres I think.

Lots of folks wash the smaller bags because they are a heavier plastic suitable for food storage, even freezing.

mazza
01-20-2009, 06:02 PM
I never ever take bags because I cycle everywhere and thus can only bring groceries that will fit in my backpack. Worst case scenario, I've walked home with a handful of groceries before, including an unpackaged head of lettuce.

ANOther
01-20-2009, 07:30 PM
Those stores that are charging you to use a bag of theirs are making a profit off of you

They're making a profit off you no matter what you buy there, aren't they? They're not giving you the groceries out of the goodness of their heart

PearFreak
01-20-2009, 07:47 PM
We can buy milk in bags.
You get three bags like this ...
http://gamesnet.vo.llnwd.net/o1/gamestar/objects/201265_main.jpg
... in a bigger bag. It's 4 litres I think.

Lots of folks wash the smaller bags because they are a heavier plastic suitable for food storage, even freezing.

Thanks for the explanation and visual, Susan. Now I understand it. :dance:

gigglez
01-20-2009, 09:18 PM
Another the profits that the stores make are not what you think that they are. Time you take all of the cost involved into each item the profits are very very small. And now with more and more vendors charging delivery charges the prices have to go up. The funny thing is that while fuel went down, the delivery charges that some added on never lowered. Also there are times when some stores sales items are being sold to the customers at cost. I know that it may be hard for some to understand that but it is something that is common place. So no the stores are not always making a profit on what they sale.

nelie
01-20-2009, 09:27 PM
I think the point is that grocery stores aren't there for the kindness of their heart, they are there to make money. Sometimes they do drop prices on certain things, especially hoping to draw people in and spend money on other things. I think if having people pay for bags reduces the amount of bags used, then that is a good thing.

CountingDown
01-20-2009, 09:51 PM
Our church sold them with their logo as a service to the members. I LOVE these bags because they are not "store specific". We bought enough to keep some in every vehicle (including the trunk on the electric scooters).

I am fanatical about haning them on a hook on the back of the door so I see them every time I go out to my car - that way I get them BACK in the car.

Thus, I am batting 1000 on using them every time I shop.
:)

diary
01-20-2009, 10:02 PM
I have been making an attempt to use them so that I reduce my waste, but I seem to forget a lot of the time too - I need to move them out to my car.....

JuliaDH
01-20-2009, 10:17 PM
Thanks for explaining Susan. LOL I forget our products are not always the same State side.

If using bags from stores with logos is an issue. You could always make youre own out of canvas or old blue jeans! There are lots of patterns on the crafting web sites for them. Reusing material you already have is a great way to help the enviroment too.

Sample web site http://www.allfreecrafts.com/sewing/shopping-bag.shtml

fatgirl nomore
01-20-2009, 10:49 PM
Hey I just wanted to say that I use my own bags when I grocery shop. I love them, they handle so MUCH more than plastic or paper. I personally have worked at a grocery store for about 6 years now. I live in Indiana and reusable bags have just now started taking off. I love when customers have their own bags, it helps so much. The only thing that annoys a cashier is when the customer waits until after the cashier has started bagging their groceries into plastic bags. Then you have to take all of the items out of the plastic and then put them into their bags. Just remember to hand the bags to the cashier FIRST THING. Me personally I HATE bagging paper bags, do you have any ideas how many paper cuts i get from those things and they rip just as easy. When you do use plastic bags and the cashier uses a hundred different bags, its because the customer in front of them probably bit*hed them out for putting their bread with their eggs, or they put a boxed item in with produce. You have certain guidelines that you have to follow when you are bagging groceries. EVERYTHING is suppose to be separate. At my store if we get caught putting items that don't go together in the same bag we get a write up, three write ups and your gone. We also have mystery shoppers that pretty much score you, so cashiers are usually scared into bagging the way they do.

On another note, their is a new grocery store in town called Aldi's and they charge 10 cents for every plastic bag and 6 cents for every paper bag.

And to address the issue about grocery stores making a profit, at the chain of stores i work at the profit that the owners make is one cent of every dollar sold. If you factor in ALL of the different things that go with grocery stores, you would see that there isnt a lot of profit in that business. The company that I work for actually filed bankruptcy a few years back, because they were in the hole with everything. There is so much competition with most stores fighting to stay above and keep their store open, but Walmart seems to be shutting the doors on most stores. So stores lower the prices on certain items at certain times to try to bring the business. For example at Thanksgiving time our store paid 89 cents a pound for turkeys. we sold them for 37 cents a pound i believe. so we were taking a HUGE loss on every turkey we sold. It doesnt help when you have "cherry pickers," so we call them, people that ONLY buy ad items. Doesnt help business. Okay just putting my two cents in. Hope I didn't offend anyone just telling you what i have experienced.

BerkshireGrl
01-20-2009, 11:07 PM
fatgirl nomore, thanks for the inside information! :)

Hyacinth
01-20-2009, 11:57 PM
I agree - interesting insights from fatgirl nomore. The poor baggers - they'll upset one customer for using too many bags, another customer for not using enough bags, how are they to know?

I, too, use my excess plastic bags for garbage-pail liners and recycling bags. I heard recently that the problematic bags aren't the ones filled with things and thrown in the trash, but the ones blowing around town and getting stuck in trees and bushes. I have no idea if this is accurate, but something to think about.

Dork that I am, I walk around my neighborhood and pick up garbage, most of which are ... you guessed it, plastic bags.

I have never ever seen milk sold in bags! That's got to be better for the environment than the heavy plastic containers that they sell in the US.

I love this thread. Eliminating excess waste is a priority of mine and I'm interested to hear where it's taking off and where it hasn't.

nicolen
01-21-2009, 02:13 AM
I was thinking about this thread after work today. I went shopping and went to a bookshop, shoe shop, department store and the supermarket. At the bookshop and department store I was asked whether I really needed a bag - the bookshop actually charges 10c per bag for plastic bags, with the money going to a locat charity which is a fantastic idea. Perhaps more shops should look at doing something like that...