New Year's Resolution: replace plastic bags

Over 500 billion plastic bags are used annually, that's almost 1 million per minute! The average family meanwhile accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store. Besides the accumulation of excess plastic in landfills, over 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year worldwide.

However, for every reusable shopping bag used, it has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime, which is why my resolution for 2009 is to use reusable bags when shopping. I'm not an overly green person, but I feel this is a step that I can take to do my part for this earth.

I had received a few free bags from stores and conferences over the years and I've since tried some stylish eco-friendly reusable shopping bag kits, all of which are now in the trunk of my car for future shopping visits. Saving the planet with style folks!

My first outing was easier than I thought. I even felt kind of proud and well, smug, walking around the store, armed with my bags. I actually ended up bringing in more than I even needed, but no matter. I simply handed them over to the bagger right as she was doubling up a plastic bag in prep for my items. I proudly told her that it was my new resolution to use the bags, no comment back from her, just a glare, but no matter. When I then carried my bags out to the car, it was easier since they comfortably rested on my shoulders instead of cutting off the circulation on my fingers like before.

I still needed to use the mini-plastic bags for packing separate vegetables and fruits though since the checkout counter needs them separated to scan/weigh, although not all produce needs to be bagged (bananas, cantaloupe, etc.). Another problem is that I find myself easily remembering to bring my reusable bags when going to the grocery store, but not when going clothes shopping or doing the smaller shopping errands like when I just ran to 7/11 for gummy bears and ice cream bars. "It's about forming a habit" reads the tagline from iTySE reusable bags, which I just used on my latest foray to the grocer.

I tried the exact iTySE handbag kit above, which is not only pretty and cute, but holds several mesh reusable shopping bags. Each bag holds up to three times what a traditional shopping bag holds and entire sets can be purchased for $50-80, All of the mesh bags can then be stuffed in the little round holder, which comes in different styles.

Another collapsible, reusable grocery bag set that I used on my recent trip, comes from BlueAvocado, which has a starter kit starting at $29.99 and a "cool kit" for $49.99 available in blueberry, raspberry and lime colors, I of course have the pink raspberry color.

Still not convinced? Some stores offer incentives for using your own bags and according to itYSE through retailer rewards shoppers can recover up to $50 per year. For example, at Trader Joe's if you bring your own reusable bags (any brand of bags), you are eligible to win free groceries in their store. I just found out that a coworker of mine won.

Blog flashback: Looking back on 2005 - Looks like my resolutions were a lot more fun that year and there sure were many.
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