Don’t forget your reusable bags Canada!


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Today being Earth day I thought I’d touch upon resusable bags.

Loblaws has now gone the way of Food Basics and as of today is charging 5 cents per plastic bag.  Foodland chains are to follow suit as well from what I’ve heard.

I think this is a great move, promote using reusable bags and cut down on wasteful shopping bags. But I have some issues and I’m hoping that you the reader can perhaps give me some advice or insight.

1. How does one actually remember to bring reusable bags with them to the store?

I honestly forget them 90% of the time. I’ll pull into the stores parking lot then remember. I shop in another town so I can’t simply run home and grab them. Sometimes I give in and buy more but now I have way too many.

2. Is everyone muscle bound weight lifters?

I can’t carry the reusable bags after they are packed by the  grocery packers. Seriously they pack them so heavy that I can barely carry them. It’s great that they hold more product and a bigger weight load then the plastic bags but do they really have to pack 100 lbs per bag? I’ve even asked them to pack lighter and erm… didn’t work.

3. What grocery store brand is the superior bag?

I have  the Presidents Choice large bags and the Sobeys bags with blueberries on them in large. I find the presidents choice bag flimsy and the Sobeys bags well…. I think they can fit 150 lbs in them making them impossible to shop alone without my muscle bound stud.

 

I Look forward to your comments and tips valued readers! Happy Earth Day!


86 responses to “Don’t forget your reusable bags Canada!”

  1. Glen says:

    On May 1st, Sobeys is also going to start charging 5 cents for plastic bags.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I love the Sobeys bags because they have a flat bottom. When my boyfriend is gone to sea and I end up lugging groceries from the parking garage through three sets of doors and up a flight of stairs being able to lay the bags down and not worry about them falling over is a big deal!

    As far as remembering the bags, I try to keep them in my trunk. I have so many now that I never use them all so right now I have the 3 bags from the last trip sitting next to the door, ready to go back in the car as soon as I remember but there are already close to 10 bags in the trunk.

  3. PJ says:

    Sally

    1. Keep 2 or three bags in the trunk of the vehicle for those times when you forget to take one with you. If you can keep a cool bag in there too for your frozen stuff all the better. Fold them flat and they won’t take up much room.

    2.DIY packing – you will always get it done just the way you like it!

    3. I find the Ikea reusuable bags ideal – not the big blue or yellow ones you can buy but the ones they sell for about $2 each summer. They change the design each year. I just looked on the website and I think this year’s is called SOLIG $1.49 . Roomy but not so big you can’t left them and they last.

    Hope this helps

  4. Crystal says:

    In answer to # 1 we always keep our bags and one of the plastic tote boxes from Loblaws in the trunk–we have two cars and keep half of them in each so we’re always prepared–it works 🙂

  5. Litesandsirens911 says:

    I always take my reusable bags with me..if I happen to forget, I ask for a paper bag..less waste than plastic because i use it to wrap parcels to mail to Alberta.

  6. Kitty says:

    Where do you live that you still have bag packers?!?
    Personally, I never trusted them not to put the tuna tins on top of the bananas, so I’ve never encountered a “you packed it too heavy” situation, but… just like Elizabeth, I really like the fact that the reusable Loblaws bags have flat bottoms & can therefore stand up on their own. My boyfriend tells me that they’re also the PERFECT size to carry a 12-pack of beer. 🙂

  7. Shellie says:

    After shopping and putting away groceries I put my purse into the reusable bags. The next time I get in my car I have to have my purse, I just automaticaly grab the bags and they are in the car ready to go on my next trip to get groceries. Good luck, that might help the women out there not to forget.

  8. Liz says:

    I sewed my own reusable bag that folds into itself and I always carry it with me in my purse. 🙂

  9. L. Wilson says:

    I never remember bags, but something I have learned is to keep some of the old plastic bags in my car, just in case.

    And… ahem… where can I purchase one of these muscle bound studs you speak of?

    😉

  10. Ann says:

    My favorite bags are the ones from Canadian Tire. They go on sale quite often for $.49 They are washable, which I find some of them aren’t, and after they have had meat in them, I prefer to wash them. I also put my purse right in the bags, so that way I will remember them.

  11. Zoe says:

    I’mm not a fan of the Sobeys bags…several of mine are falling apart already. I haven’t yet attempted to return them though, apparently they replace them for free.

  12. lotus-star says:

    Try getting a few super-compact ones like the ones from http://www.reusablebags.com/….I have the acme ones, I just keep them in all my purses, you never know when you’ll need a bag!

  13. Carla says:

    Envirosax! http://envirosax.com/
    I saw these for the first time when travelling in NZ; a fellow hosteler had one as her food bag to take from place to place. They’re made of waterproof polyester, hold up to 44 lbs, have nice wide straps AND roll up into a little roll about 4″ x 1.5″. I keep one in my purse 24/7, take everything out…roll it up and toss it back in. You can buy sets of 5 with a little case to keep in the car. And they come in fantastic prints!
    As for store bags, I have a Co-op one thats pretty good. My best is the one I have from Australia with a plastic removable bottom in it. The Safeway ones are crap, too long (scrap on the ground when walking home) and not wide enough.

  14. makeupartist says:

    I love the black ones from Canadian Tire with white writing which reads “this bag is green” the best, and believe me we have tried tons! They are sturdy, even for milk jugs, travels easy and are just the perfect size!

  15. Heather says:

    Hey! I want a stud too!!

  16. Erin says:

    I love the ones from Home Depot, they are huge and the handles are actually big enough to put onto your shoulder. They are a $1.99 but i have two and i love them. Remembering to bring them with me is another story!

  17. Erin says:

    Oh just remember they have two kinds, i mean the orange ones!

  18. cheapy says:

    I have two reusable bags that do the trick. The flip and tumble fits great in my purse and has an attached pouch that it stuffs into. The one main strap is great, you can wear it on your shoulder and don’t have the other strap falling off.

    http://www.flipandtumble.com/

    We also have a giant black shopping bag from Mountain Equipment Co-op, had it for years and it fits a week’s worth of groceries for my husband and I. It goes back in the car after unloading the shopping.

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp;jsessionid=GLh1JvKd6hY8VgsHqQTGKngXy6P527ppy2jh24pfkcJNZlL3twK7!-773070387!1240451645023?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474396039197&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442543349

    It’s amazing, even though we’ve been reusing bags for a few years, you still seem to accumulate quite a few, especially those large paper ones from clothing stores… still reusing those too!

  19. Kamila says:

    I prefer the black PC ones because you can just ball them up into each other, the sobey’s ones are too stiff. And I don’t find them flimsy at all, they can carry a 4ltr jug of mile and then some. They also have longer handles so you can put them on your shoulder then your hands are free to carry more.

    Like everyone else, i keep them in the trunk, as soon as i unpack the groceries they go next to my keys so next time i go to the car i remember them.

    Once you go reusable you don’t go back

  20. itsjustmebub says:

    for #1 what i do is as SOON as i am done unpacking the groceries i hang the bags on my doorknob so that the next morning i immediately put them back in my car. it’s the only way i’ve found i don;t forget them

  21. Nicky says:

    I usually have a large purse so I just ball up or fold up the green bag and put it in the purse. I like the ones with the longer handles too for shoulder use. Especially for milk. They add plastic handles to the 4 liter milk bags so they would be easier to carry and no bag would be required.

  22. Jen says:

    The bags from the LCBO are fantastic. I only have the models without the dividers in them, and they’re a lifesaver. The handles are really well reinforced, and the bag is strong.

  23. howcool says:

    i don’t know if anyone has had this same idea, but as soon as i’m done putting the groceries away the bags go right back in the trunk of my car. you have to put the grocery bags away at that time, and it takes five seconds to take the bags back to the car.
    how to make them lighter? well i shop at superstore so i pack them myself because they don’t have packers.

  24. janszi says:

    #3 – I like using the “pretty” reusable totes. Like ones from Lululemon, Jacob, RW&Co, Winners by Riddell. The prettier the bag is the more I want to use them. Plus they cost the same as the grocery store bags at $1-$2

  25. Chantal says:

    I spent four years in South Korea where they’ve been charging for plastic bags for several years now.

    I had no car (still do without), but taking along a reusable bag became a habit when I went shopping.

  26. ed says:

    I use the reusable Metro/FB blue bags. They’re pretty good and I take the bags with me when I go shopping. For those impulsive shoppers, yeah leave them in your car trunk or something. It’s worth it. Also why do stores still manufacture plastic bags to sell at stores?? If they’re going to give bags with the groceries, paper’s a much better choice. Just have it with a reinforced handle maybe and atleast you can recycle those once you’ve used them. All these plastic bags are such a waste. They should stop making them period.

  27. Jackie says:

    This doesn’t *exactly* answer your question, but I don’t do much of the grocery shopping, so for what it’s worth… I keep a few of those bags that fold into a neat pouch in my purse. Whenever I go anywhere, I use those.

    I also work in retail and am really surprised about how very few people use re-usable bags. I work full time and am lucky to see one reusable bag per month. I guess people think about those for groceries, but not for retail shopping.

  28. Matt says:

    I prefer the PC black bags from Loblaws. They don’t push their store name or logo so you don’t look like a walking advertisment. They are also available in three sizes.
    I don’t like the Sobeys bags. They are too big and ugly.
    The Canadian Tire bags are nice too.

  29. TaraF says:

    First I will say all of these stores switching to charging for bags in my opinion is more of a cash grab than a true desire to help the environment. Is it a great idea to use reusable bags? Of course, and I do all of the time. Okay not all of the time, but when I REMEMBER to take them with me lol What I try to do is bring the groceries in, unload them and take them back to the car, if I don’t I generally forget the bags here. Than of course there is remembering to take it into the store when it’s been in the trunk for the past week *ack* I find the best bags are the PC bags I got at the Superstore and the bags I got at Shoppers Drug Mart. I like the PC bags because if it DOES rip it can be quickly stitched up whereas the plastic bags need to be thrown away.

  30. Justine says:

    It helps to always have a reuseable bag in the car in the backseat where you can see it, so when you are getting out of your car to go shopping, you see it and take it in with you.

  31. Elizabeth says:

    I have a question about reusable bags at the shopping mall. I would love to bring my own bag and have even seen some stores selling them but I think if I am walking around with clothing in a bag (and no store plastic bags) people will think I have stolen the items.

  32. nsangel2 says:

    I find the same thing sally. They tend to pack way too much in them. So I would “ahem” polietly ask them to pack the bags lighter, because I have a bad back. No store wants to get sued 🙂

    Also, the sobeys bags are good, because I had one rip and they replaced it w/o any hassel. I found out that both the sobeys ones and the superstore cloth ones are machine washable. go figure.

    Superstore still wants to put my meat in plastic bags before putting in their bag. I always refuse. I tell them I can wash it. Darn meat should be properly wrapped anyway so it don’t leak! (don’t mind me, i used to work as a meat wrapper)

    Pete’s frootique had the 5 cents/bag thing in place for a long time now. I think it’s a good idea. You’ll remember better once u have to pay for it. When i was out yesterday, I noticed everyone remembered their bags at superstore!

    One tip to remember your bags. When u finish unpacking them, put them all in one large one, and hang them on the door knob to take out to the car the next time you go out to the car. Then just toss them in the trunk. Once we get in the habit it’ll be so much easier. And i so luv the bags over the green boxes. those just ended up as storage totes, and were always full of something so never ready when u needed em. Plus, your groceries got wet on way out to the fricking car if it was raining!

  33. George says:

    I love the reuseable bags so much. I makes me all warm to know that on top of the price of my groceries the gov’t and grocery chains force me to purchase bags that once were complimetary. SO now I have to go to the grocery store and either pay for plastic bags or buy some enviro wacko bag to Save the Earth™.

    I don’t believe in your religion, so stop forcing it down my throat. If you want to take dirty infested “green” bags with you be my guest. DO NOT force me to join your crusade. I still believe in freedom in this country and will not be bullied by eco Marxist brown shirts trying to make their lives have meaning.

    Shove your green bags up the wazoo. There is something to be said for cleanliness. You should try it.

  34. Cheryl says:

    to George – reusable bags can be washed so are clean for you & for the environment.

    I use Lee Valley’s canvas bags & love them – are large with nice length soft handles & are washable.

    I have hooks right by my door where I keep the bags that have been brought into the house. Didn’t take long to get in the habit of grabbing them & putting them in the car & then taking them with me no matter what store I’m going to. I’ve used them exclusively for over a year now for all my shopping.

  35. The best reusable bags are the original plastic ones….. they can be used over and over and over again. They can be neatly folded into a small size (fits in my pocket) and the older ones are very strong. I’m still using “Food City” plastic bags… made by Poly-O-Sacs, patented 1975, they seem to last forever. Even the newer “disposable” bags can be reused many times, and when they are worn out… then they are used to line my “green” organic kitchen waste container. I do not see any benefits (neither financially nor environmentally) what so ever to using these “new” reusable bags… other than lining the stores’ pockets with more money! My other favorite plastic bags are the “LCBO” ones… too bad they don’t have them anymore, luckily I still have some..(they are also super strong) will probably be passed down to my kids one day.

    I have never thrown a plastic bag in the garbage!!!

    Plastic lasts forever…. So use it forever!

  36. Charles says:

    I find that a small PC or Farm Boy bag can be folded tight enough to fit in my jacket pocket, or even my pants pocket if the weather is nice. That way I always have one with me, even when I’m not planning to buy anything – the more disorganised among us find that we still buy a lot of stuff when we’re just planning to drop in to pick up something. Since I don’t drive, I can’t buy a lot of groceries anyway, so it works out – and also gets rid of the weight problem! I guess my girlfriend gets around the whole problem by just getting me to do most of the groceries. 😉

    One thing I have to admit to is the whole cleanliness thing, especially with regards to meat. Yeah, most of them are washable, but do you really want to put some blood-stained meat-juice soaked bag in the washer, and then trust it enough to use again to hold fruit and other things you won’t cook? It’s also the reason why we keep paper towels around and not use washable rags (bad, I know) – after mopping up all the juice and other unsavoury things, you just want to toss it in the trash and forget about it, not wash it and think about where it’s been every time you use it again.

  37. Roxy says:

    I have a growing collection of reusable bags that I kept getting as gifts or as a freebie from the store. I have just purchased two PC ones this last week as they were half price and I didn’t have any on me. After forgetting a time or two, I now remember to bring them with me to Food Basics and Price Choppers.

    I like the one I got from Bulk Barn as there are two handles, one for carrying by hand and one for slinging over your shoulder and it’s very large.

    Superstore, Independent, Loblaws and Metro (formerly Loebs) all pack your bags for you and I have been finding that since the push for reusable bags started, that if you don’t have any, then they pack more into the plastic bags so that they give you less.

    Farm Boy will give you a 2 cent credit for each bag you re-use so I always keep a few plastic Farm Boy bags in the car too. I have reused them over and over and yep, they are lasting (much to my MIL’s surprise).

  38. Charles says:

    Plus, it’s not like washing is free – you have the actual costs you pay for the electricity, water and detergent, plus the environmental costs of the energy used and potential pollution. Does anyone know how much it costs to run an average load in the washing machine, compared to the amount of energy it takes to make a new plastic bag? I’m honestly curious.

  39. Wendy says:

    I love the idea of reusable bags too, but I have to agree with many people on here and say that I think they are a money grab in most cases. Every week I spend at least 100 dollars on groceries and either Superstore or Sobeys and then I’m expected to buy 6 or 7 more dollars worth of bags to put the groceries in. If they were really concerned with the environment why don’t they give you a bag for every 20 dollars worth of groceries you buy, or even 10. I’m sure they make probably 95 percent profit off of those things. It bugs me that I have to buy them and they charge a buck or more for them. I’m with Fab, I’ll just reuse my plastic ones thanks!

  40. Stephen says:

    I’m surprised it took all the way to itsjustmebub for someone to say just put the unpacked bags by the door after you empty them. Then on your way out to work the next morning they go back in the car. Reusable bags aren’t even a big thing out here in Atlantic Canada yet … but that’s just common sense isn’t it? Anyway, keeping some in the car using that method is probably the best way to always have some (if you don’t have a big purse that is). I would also suggest putting them in the driver or passenger’s seat pocket instead of the trunk so they don’t take up space in your trunk or get buried under stuff in there. That way they are neat and organized in the car and always available.

    I was also about to bring up something else before Charles beat me to it: What is less environmentally friendly … using plastic bags responsibly or using chemicals, electricity, and water to repeatedly wash these bags? That’s a question for the true environmentalists. Do you guys use environmentally friendly washer detergent as well? Solar powered house?

  41. marissa says:

    I’m a fan of using reusable bags and as I’ve been shopping at those stores that have been charging for bags for some time now, I’m used to bringing them when I go for groceries. The thing that gets me now is that places like loblaws/superstore/etc that used to give the bags for free are now making quite a profit from their sale. What are they doing with their profit? Are they taking the money gained from their sale and transferring it back to the environment?

  42. courtney says:

    This whole green push cracks me up. I’m with the others suggesting reusing the plastic bags you already have. it seems that every company is just trying to capitalize on people wanting to be environmentally friendly. On MSN a few days ago there was an article with a study that was done in 2007 to find that 80% of product advertised as green products weren’t actually. I think reusable bags fit into that catagory. The only way to be environmentally friendly is to use less stuff. make your own reusable bag out of old clothes or use something you already have instead of paying more and using more resources just to have these new reusable bags everyone sells that aren’t really that environmentally friendly anyway. I also find people are way too reliant on recycling, if you re-use stuff you don’t have to recycle it, recycling takes more resources too.

  43. Jill DaSilva (BD42) says:

    Your Indendant and loblaws has their bags on special for .50 each

  44. Yadra says:

    I have been using cloth bags to bring my groceries home for over 17 years. I began purchasing them at garage sales (for about 25 cents each) and often received cloth bags as a promotion by some organization or other. If you order takeout from the Mandarin you get the food packed into really nice black cloth bags. I don’t mind advertising for The Mandarin. I like Chinese food! I always shop where I can pack my own groceries, therefore, they are never too heavy for me to cary. After this many years, I don’t forget them when I go to do a major shopping as I always shop at chains where they charge for plastic bags. Most of the bags don’t need to be washed each time you use them, so it’s not a hardship to throw a couple of bags in with your weekly laundry load.

  45. C_mcarthur says:

    The canadian tire bags are quite good and are fabric so they can be washed. They can hold heavy items despite their flimsy appearance.
    My favourite is the re-useable bags from Fabricland, mine says, ”Sewing is my bag” lol its strong the handles are comfortable when carrying heavy items overall great bags. The bags from Metro arent bad, they are very durable, only they are made of so much plastic as it is. Walmart bags are terrible, they rip quite easily.

  46. Jo Seff says:

    I got on the ‘reusable bag’ kick when Food Basics moved into town to replace my former favourite grocery store. What Food Basics does though is offer you boxes to pack in as well. Does Superstore??? (I dont’ shop there often so I don’t know)
    As for using a ‘green’ bag in a mall, go ahead! Just keep your receipts in the bag as well. One shoe store in our mall doesn’t give away bags anymore and it’s so strange to see people walk around with shoe boxes in their arms.

  47. madryn_m says:

    I find this whole “damn the man for charging me for plastic bags” tirade amusing. Most grocery stores have been giving you a discount for each reusable bag you use for years now, so essentially, they were charging you for a plastic bag each time any way. Now that they’re actually wording it differently by telling you you’re paying, every one is up in arms! Now who’s buying into advertising?

  48. Pennywise says:

    The Bulk Barn bags are fantastic!!! I got one free with a purchase. They are similar to the sobeys/IGA bags, but theyre slightly smaller so they cant be pack as heavy. They have TWO set of handles. A nice short one or longs ones for carrying the bag over the shoulder.My daughter loves them too cause they have pics of candy on them:)

  49. Stimpson says:

    Just why is this blog listed at Manitoba Blogs? In this post I see no mention of the No. 1 grocery retailer in Manitoba (and a huge presence in all three Prairie provinces), Safeway. Just what connection does this blog have to Manitoba, if any?

    Anyway, it was interesting to read people’s opinions on what bags are best. Safeway bags, BTW, are a bit weak. I got someone to reinforce the seams for me, after having twice having seams rip before I got back home.

  50. Pennywise says:

    oh also, the sobeys/IGA/compliments bags have a lifetime warranty so if the rip you just bring em in and they replace it.

  51. Sally says:

    Wow, so many different viewpoints.

    To answer a few things.

    I only have one muscle bound stud, and I don’t know of anymore available.

    I live in south western Ontario and all the grocery stores I shop at employ people just to pack groceries. If I started packing my own bags I might put someone out of a job! I think perhaps my area still does this because I live in ”cottage country” and a ”retirement area.”

    Putting them in the car after each use is something we tried but didn’t succeed. I like the hanging them on the door knob idea, we will try that.

    Stimpson, this blog definitely has a connection to Manitoba as it is a Canadian blog and reaches out to each province in Canada 🙂

    It’s been wonderful reading everyones opinions and I look forward to more comments!

  52. adora says:

    I think t reusable bags should all be made to same sizes, and some with nylon.

    Nylon bags are much lighter and thinner, 10 bags would take up the volume equals a paperback novel. They are not as rigid or strong as the cotton or reinforced bags, but the advantage of its compact nature would encourage more usage.

    Most groceries stores offer rigid bulky bags that simulates double paper bags, perhaps to make it easier for the cashier to bag the goods. They are too bulky to carry. People who don’t drive can’t possibly carry them around all day if they have other things to do.

    If they are made the same sizes, it would be easier for the cashier to bag them. The stores can have a bag hanging device, much like the ones for plastic bags. May I suggest that the bottom should be exactly 2 cartons of eggs wide? They can come in different heights. Small ones to carry around for just in case purchase. Larger ones for groceries.

    More importantly, a lot of people don’t realize that reusable bag takes about 50 times the energy to make than a plastic bag. It can carry 2-3 times the volume. So unless you are going to use your bags for more than 20 times, you are not really doing any better.

    ***

    Is it just me? Or do you think some clerks (often men) resent reusable bags? They say in sarcastic tone, “Oh, saving the planet!” *rolling eye*

  53. adora says:

    I got a tiny RW&Co. reusable bag the last year. They say I would get a discount if I bring it back to shop. The only thing the bag does is to prevent me from shopping there. Apparently, they don’t have an economist on staff!

    -It is so small that you can only put one shirt in it.

    -It is poorly made, the seam on the size is torn. (You’d think clothing company knows a thing or two about sewing.)

    -So I never carry it around.

    -When I want to buy something from them, I remember I have this stupid “coupon” at home. So I say to myself, I would bring the bag next time. But I never do. Impulse wear off.

    -So I never bought anything from them since I got the free bag.

  54. Sue says:

    I like the PC and CTC bags for regular grocery shopping, and the IKEA blue bags for Costco shopping, because everything there is huge! BUT – as for the environmentally friendly aspect of it, I’m afraid its a wash for me. I never threw out plastic bags in the first place. Every single one got reused. The nice sturdy ones became book bags, knitting bags, toy bags, laundry bags, bathing suit bags and so on and so on, until they eventually died (as the reusable ones do too, don’t forget). The regular grocery ones became garbage can liners. So far most the sturdy ones (except the beloved LCBO bag) are still around (GAP, Old Navy, etc.) so I still have utility bags available. But instead of reusing grocery bags to line my garbage bins, I now have to buy a box of (heavier) plastic garbage bags. Any chance The Man from GLAD had a lobbying role in getting rid of the common grocery bag? Even more plastic is going in the garbage now, since those liners are a heavier weight plastic than my grocery bags were. Plus, there’s the box they came in. Plus its costing me more out of pocket. Yup, the GLAD man is the only winner there! (also – someone mentioned all grocery stores already gave you a discount for using reusable bags. Never found such a place around here!)

  55. Sylvia says:

    I write “bring bags” on top of my grocery list that I leave on my kitchen counter to add to all week.

  56. Anne says:

    My family has been reusable bags for several years. (My husband was always recognized as the guy with the reusable bags). They’re much studier and hold more than those awful plastic bags. We always keep some in the trunk of the car. As well, I carry some in my purse and if my purse is small, attached to my purse.

    Recently, we’ve switched to reusable produce bags for vegatbles and fruits (the exception being juicy berries). I bought some from http://www.etsy.com (do a search for produce bags) and I’ve bought some tulle & netting fabric to make more myself.(As well, they are great for storing items such as beans in the fridge).

  57. BHLombardy says:

    I personally dont think that charging 5 cents a bag is going to have much of an impact.

    The average grocery bill, for those who shop regularly is $100 per household member. Averaging about 5-10 bags per order, this amounts to about 50 cents on a $100 order. That’s a very insignificant impact that will undoubtedly go virtually unnoticed by most consumers.

    I, like others I know, own reusable grocery bags… and like others I know, I only use them about a third of the time I go for groceries. I usually forget them because the mindset for the past 20 years of my life has been “there will bags there when I get there”. It’s like an automatic neglect.

    However, oddly enough, when I go to one of those wholesale clubs to shop, I *always* remember to take them with me. Why? Because those stores dont offer bags. So unless I want my purchases from Costco floating around loose in my trunk, I best bring my re-usable bags. It’s no longer a matter of convenience; it is a matter of necessity.

    I thing the major retailers (not just grocery stores) should follow this example, and not offer plastic bags at ALL.

    If they charge the $1 for the reusable bag as they always have, with a lifetime replacement offer, like they do, then I’d bet you’d see many MORE people jump on the bandwagon and start using those bags. THEN you’d see an impact on the environment. – No plastic bags, at any price, and they don’t end up in the landfills EVER. What’s more, no more plastic bags means a reduced operating cost for the business — an instant profit right there.

    Want to offer more of an incentive? Allow people who have collected their own grocery bags at home (as I know many do) to bring them in and trade them in for re-usable bags – say at a ratio of 10:1 or so – at least in the interim. The stores can assure the customer that their plastic bags will go to recycling or other proper means of disposal. In fact, many stores claim their bags are made from old grocery bags that have been recycled — yet another step forward to get the old bags out of circulation.

    I say if you’re a retailer who is genuinely serious about wanting to reduce this waste and you want to do it for the right reasons… then get serious about it. Eliminate the problem from the get go. Added incentive, good publicity, and the world as a community benefits.

  58. BHLombardy says:

    Oh, and an added footnote: I’m not much of an eco-radical. The type that get all fired up about the environment. It’s not that I dont care, but I’m not a strong advocate like others are.

    I merely see logical, and perhaps more effective ways to resolve a problem, than what’s currently being done.

  59. BHLombardy says:

    In response to other comments about “cleanliness”:

    Yes, in some RARE cases, a plastic bag may be essential; meat packs for example, or loose produce (to name two).
    But those bags can be made available in those departments much like they are at Costco and the like. But bagging up everyone’s full orders of crackers, cereal and Pepsi bottles in plastic bags can easily come to a screeching halt.

    Incidentally, when I was a kid my parents shopped at Co-Op. Customers were encouraged to bring their own vessels (bags or boxes) to transport their groceries home. And that was 30 years ago… go figure.

    Oh, and whatever happened to paper bags?
    You know paper… that stuff that decomposes?

  60. Sue says:

    I vaguely remember paper bags. Used them to send parcels to out-of-town family. I have a canvas shopping bag that rolls up nicely to fit into my purse for my regular shopping. BRING BACK THE PAPER BAGS!!!

  61. natasha says:

    M&M meatshops have a super bag with a thermal lining so you can also use it to pack frozen items so they dont melt on the way home. It is firm sided so it doesnt flimsy over in the trunk and you spend 20 minutes collecting fruit from the back of the van….no it has NEVER happened to me!! Putting on the brakes and an apple rolls to the front of the van…..no not me.

  62. freestuffforme says:

    I’ve stopped using individual bags for most produce. Unless it’s wet or very small and likely to make a mess (like broccoli or grapes), I don’t find that a bag is necessary. Why do we need to put our three green peppers, one avocado, two tomatoes, and five apples in four different bags? The only benefit I really see is that it’s easier for the cashier to identify that they’re the same item when she’s weighing things… I just line them up (loose) with their partners on the belt, and then make one or two of my reusable bags for produce only (since I don’t want my cereal box puncturing my tomatoes).

    My husband and I have tried a few different reusable bags over the years, and the ones we go back to use are the President’s Choice bags. I hate the Food Basics/A&P bags… they just fall apart at the corners after a couple of uses (mind you, that was a few years ago and they may be better now…?). We don’t own a car, and we’ve found that the PC bags are very durable for all types of groceries that we bring home on the bus or walking. It’s nice that you can wear them on your shoulders. I don’t just use them for groceries, though. I use them for anything, really. One thing that does bother me is that they are not machine washable. I’d be interested in reading more about people’s experiences ignoring the care instructions on those. It sounds like I may have to take a look at Canadian Tire’s reusable bags, too.

    As for “disposable” bags, I very rarely just toss mine in the trash bag… because they usually ARE the trash bag. I also use a lot of them for cleaning up cat litter. I live in an apartment, so I don’t buy or use traditional “garbage bags.” If the grocery bag has a hole in it, then I just double it up with another holey bag and hope that the garbage doesn’t sift through both before it makes it down the chute!

  63. freestuffforme says:

    I noticed that Natrel is now using “biodegradable” milk bags. I vaguely recall reading somewhere, though, that the way they are manufactured causes more harm than if they just stuck with the old plastic bags. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

  64. Sally says:

    Interesting freestuffforme, I’ll have to research that. I wish theyd make the milk cartons and juice cartons recyclable, or heck make them out of plastic so I could recycle them.

  65. freestuffforme says:

    Some communities are starting to offer milk and juice carton recycling. Beginning December 1, 2008, London, Ontario began accepting milk and juice cartons, drink boxes (juice, soup, wine, etc.), and empty paint cans.

  66. James says:

    Do like I do – I care the reusable bags in my Navigator

  67. MAtt says:

    I usually just keep bags in my car, so whenever I go shopping, even those spontaneous runs to the grocery store, I know its in the back seat.

  68. Bagthebag says:

    I like these from Bagnesia- they roll up and secure with an elastic band and the best part- you can buy one of their reminder kits to help you remember to take them into the store with you… just in case you have bagnesia (forgetfulness to remember your bags)

  69. Dan says:

    I thought I bagnesia was a form of hernia? no? 🙂

  70. pippinelkhound says:

    It seems that re-useable bags come around in cycles. They were the way to go in the late 80s/early 90s and then they went out of fashion.

    In Europe they were always the norm. You used to get really strange looks when you’d say “no bag, thanks” in Canada.

    But I do agree, when I’m spending over $50 on groceries, I really think Safeway, SaveOn or Sobey’s can cough up a reusable bag. M&Ms handed out free bags a couple of weeks ago when you spent $25.

    Sobey’s say if the bag wears out they will replace them.

    Zellers/HBC, SaveOn say they will give you bonus points if you use a cloth bag. But 90% of the time you have to remind the cashier.

  71. Jenn says:

    As a cashier at a grocery store, I consider myself a bit of an expert.

    The PC Medium bags are great. They may look little, but they actually hold about double or more of a regular sized plastic grocery bag. They fold out with a nice flat bottom that is perfect for putting milk in at the bottom and packing groceries on top. And while it’s still possible to over pack them, they’re the hardest to over pack just the same. The PC Large bags are the worst, on the flip side. Because it’s a flimsy material, it doesn’t stand up on it’s own, and it’s really hard to keep open until you build walls with the groceries you’re packing. They’re also really easy to overpack. Unfortunately, they don’t wear the best, and often pill after a few washes in the machine.

    I’m not a big fan of the Sobeys or Food Basics bags. They’re too tall for the till, and you can’t see inside to pack. It makes it difficult, and hard on the arms. They don’t have a square bottom, and it’s harder to pack things vertically.I just generally find them to be a pain.

    The Walmart bags are too big also. The ones from Costco are just plain ridiculous though.

    There are some good ones though – I like the ones from Giant Tiger, and there are other ones out there with a better material/construction, some even with a cardboard bottom. They’re generally my favorite, because they’re still relatively small while still holding a ton of groceries.

    I’m not a big fan of the canvas bags though – most of the time they’re old, and smelly, and don’t hold alot.

    I also like the Envirosax which come in pretty patterns and colors, and their similar counterparts, like the ones from Reitmans, or the foldup PC ones.

    As an alternative to bags, the PC bins are great, I really like the fold up basket too, and even a laundry basket works! 🙂

  72. Sarah says:

    My local Giant Tiger gives you 3 cents off for every reusable bag you use. The Valu-mart I shop at started charging 5 cents a bag when you don’t bring in your reusable bag. Personally, being frugal as I am, like the way the Giant Tiger store is handling the whole reusable bag thing… it seems to me as though Giant Tiger is always thinking of reasons to save people money, and Valu-mart is trying to think up ways to charge people more money.

  73. Charles says:

    Yeah, but it’s not like any company is going to give you “free money” – if Giant Tiger or any other store does that, it’s because they’ve run the numbers and are confident that their profit margin can cover it. How do we know if Giant Tiger, or Zellers or any other store isn’t simply recouping that 3c by having slightly higher prices which we won’t notice because the numbers are so small? I mean obviously it has to come from somewhere, no one is going to willingly choose to do something that will lose them money in the long run.

  74. Nicole T says:

    Here’s my solution: take an old empty kleenex box, stuff it full of emplty plastic grocery bags and leave it in your car. It’s great for lots of purposes; as garbage bags, to put over dirty shoes, and of course, when you forget your reusable bags.

  75. Jill DaSilva (BD42) says:

    I always keep my bags in thr trunk of my van..once they are emptied they go back out to the van so I always have them handy,same with my green pc boxes

  76. soh says:

    I have the bags hung in the garage so i never forget…even if i park the car outside..it just comes to mind before leaving for shopping.
    I do have some bags from grocery stores but others are bought from stores, they tend to be a pit expensive buy handle better…they are great cause you can put them over your shoulder..whereas grocery bags you have to hold them all in your hand which i think gets heavy. By putting the bags over the shoulder i can carry more things for sure.
    i bought a great ‘ Hug a tree” earth day themed bag at oldnavy..love it!

  77. Melissa says:

    At IGA in Quebec thay are ginving free reusable bags with any purchase. The MAxi down the street is charging $0.05 a bag. Who do you think is making money this week ?

  78. ann says:

    As many others have commentd:
    I too really like the LCBO bags as they were quite sturdy; I have a few that I have been using for years to pack my groceries at those stores that charge for plastic bags.
    Where they still give you the plstic bags I tend not to think of bringing my reusable bags and end up reusing those bags as garbage bags for example but they certainly don’t go in the trash.
    I agree that charging for the plastic bags may be more of a money grab than anything. I didn’t realize some stores give you cash for using your own bags; even if just a few pennies, I think the idea of a reward vs a penalty might provide more incentive overall for ppl to use their own bags.
    I’m a novice sewer and wonder if maybe it might be worth trying to sew up a few totes with say demin (could use old jeans for material) – they’d be strudy and I could make them the size I want. Anyone have an easy pattern!?

  79. Chris says:

    I think I’m a bit late to submit anything, but I would like to say that where I live, Switzerland, we have to pack our own bags. This is good because then you have the choice and possibility to organize your bags how you want. In addition, suppermarkets like CO-OP and Migros sell reusable bags. My mom has a whole wardrobe full of them and she loves to collect reusable bags from other places too. I use the bags all the time to bring back and forward all my school stuff. They are really practical. Anyways if you can’t pick the bags up, get a shopping cart and put your bags in the cart, and stroll away to your car. It’s really simple, and it’s true that it’s allways easier to shop with someone else who can help you 🙂

  80. lois love says:

    does anyone know where to get the red canada bags with canada on it and a maple leaf which is white. wanted to send some to friends from canada

  81. Ron says:

    Couldn’t answer any of the questions.

    I’ve stopped shopping at any store that charges for bags. If they will not give me a bag that is worth less than two cents when I’m buying $30 dollars worth of goods, they don’t deserve my business.

    Customer service is dead in this country.

  82. dennis parks says:

    I have some troubles with my browser WorldWideWeb (Nexus) on your website. The chimpanzees are in the system :-).

  83. This is Awesome! Thank you so much.

  84. Ildar S. says:

    I’m way too late with my comments for this post, but wanted to add few words anyways.
    Nowadays when average family has lots of reusable bags at home – the problem becomes – to actually bring them when going shopping…
    Those portable bags that can be staffed in small pouches – is a great solution. You can just put them in your purse or backpack and it will always be there when you need it. It becomes a great solution for unplanned shopping as well!
    Good quality reusable bag will save around 200-300 plastic bags a year. A few of those, and we are talking thousands of plastic bags a year. Obviously reusing your existing plastic bags is an option, but usually it will not last more than two-three trips to the store, compare it with 200-300…
    I think that using reusable bags is no-brainer. One just need to pay attention picking the right one – high quality, right materials (nylon or polyester), style (for those who want to go shopping and show off)), and of course price!

  85. sacsamain says:

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