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Plastic Bags

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Plastic Bags

Post  donnainzone5 on 6/3/2010, 10:32 am

I recycle nearly all my plastic bags. My understanding is that paper bags have a much larger "carbon footprint." Of course, I do occasionally remember my reusable bags. I don't like the idea of a ban; instead, why not find a way to reward recycling them?

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  martha on 6/3/2010, 11:01 am

I'm guessing that the proposed ban is a regional thing. I cannot imagine it being successful - we are so stuck in our ways!

It is a difficult challenge to decipher. I seldom remember my reusable bags. I think I too have heard that paper bags have a larger impact. But how the $%)*#@_*@_ does one decide which is more responsible - plastic that will survive for close to forever vs. paper that will decompose very nicely? Then again, a lot of our paper bags end up inside plastic bags heading for the landfill.

I care deeply. The older I get I have to confess my words speak louder than my actions. I try to avoid hypocrisy, but the tangle of information gets overwhelming. My biggest shortcoming is I often give up on the research. (See above - overwhelming, confusing, how to decide the lesser of two evils.)

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  trustingHim on 6/3/2010, 11:06 am

The beds I'm using are made out of composite lumber made composed of sawdust and recycled plastic bags. So far, so good. Smile

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  martha on 6/3/2010, 11:53 am

Well, I will concentrate on not sliding any further into inaction. And I do love things made out of recycled plastic bottles and bags.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  LaFee on 6/3/2010, 1:05 pm

Cloth, cloth, cloth.

I posted earlier today that free plastic grocery bags have been banned for years in Europe...the type of bags found in US groceries sell for about a nickel apiece, or you can buy a heavy reinforced Tyvek-type bag for less than about a dollar.

EVERYBODY uses reusable bags here...everybody. I have some heavy canvas ones, too, and between the two types, I haven't had a plastic bag in ages.

The stores also have a lifetime replacement for the bags with their logo...if it develops a hole or the handle rips, you take it to the customer-service counter and they give you a new one (I've only had to replace one bag in two years...and that one was ripped before I got home with it, so I think it was bad to begin with).

But guess what...we don't see bags caught on fences and hedges and decorating trees, either.

Bans DO work...I've been amazed at how quickly we've adapted and don't think twice of carrying our bags in the car with us.

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Plastic bags

Post  Bec on 6/3/2010, 1:19 pm

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going to try to be more diligent about remembering to take mine in the store with me. Maybe keeping them on the front seat next to me instead of in the back of the car will help. I've actually seen a lady before who just wheeled her groceries out to her car in the cart and then put the groceries in her cloth bags there. She must have forgotten to take her bags in the store but she figured out a way to use them (and not plastic) anyway. Good for her.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  Wyldflower on 6/3/2010, 1:28 pm

I have a tendency to forget my cloth bags, too... I'll bring things into the house, and there are the bags, hanging on the doorknob. So I've accumulated about a dozen bags (I only rarely use more than two or three at a time). There's a very good chance that at least some of them are in the car. My big problem is forgetting them in the car. I've started hanging the bags from the gearshift so I always see them when I put the car in Park, so I've gotten better about remembering. I will have to keep in mind that woman you just mentioned, Bec!

I love those nylon (parachute fabric) bags that have a little pouch stitched to the inside seam, so you can 'stuff' the bag into the pouch and it takes up very little space. I've also got a very big carabiner clip to hold the bags together... it has a soft covering on one side, and makes a great handle for carrying several bags (full or not).

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/3/2010, 2:11 pm

A couple of years ago I got involved in making bags and giving them away. See www.morsbags.com. This "movement" began in England, and is beginning to take hold here in the States. But, as with everyone else, if I forget to take them into the store, it really doesn't matter how many I have. I sometimes shop at a discount grocery store (Sav-a-Lot) that does not provide bags -- they have all their used boxes up front, or you can buy a plastic bag for 10 cents, or a store logo reusable for $1.00. I shop at another store that provides a 25 cent discount each for using your own bags. So it is possible to have incentives. I would certainly be in favour of stores charging a dime for their plastic bags. When given the choice I take paper bags as I can find many uses for them which recycles them without ending up in the landfill.

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Plastic bags

Post  Bec on 6/3/2010, 2:27 pm

I may try that too, if I forget to take my cloth bags in - asking for paper bag. If nothing else, those can be torn up and added to the compost pile. And they certainly hold a lot more than those flimsy plastic bags will hold.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  chocolatepop on 6/3/2010, 2:38 pm

I have lots of reusable bags, most are www.chicobags.com, the rest are random ones I've acquired, and ive also been starting to make these


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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  LaFee on 6/3/2010, 3:58 pm

I see lots of people bagging their groceries in the parking lot...and have done it a few times myself -- for some reason it's always pouring down rain the days I forget my bags...

You do eventually get used to it. It takes a while, but you get there. I sometimes put my car keys on top of the bags that need to go back out to the car...makes it a little harder to forget...but not impossible!

The vendors at the fresh market use very flimsy plastic bags, which we use when we walk the dog. Our community has an incinerator.. so at least it goes to help make electricity eventually.

I LOVE those knitted (crocheted?) bags. What a great re-purpose.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  Megan on 6/3/2010, 6:35 pm

Have you seen the reusable bags knitted from (are you ready for this?!) plastic grocery bags? They are pretty cool! Have to admit I haven't tried it yet, but I'd like to.

Around here most people use reusable bags. Some stores will credit you 5 cents for each bag you bring. I do forget them once in a while, but I have gotten into the habit. What I do when I get my groceries home is to put everything away, and then hang the empty bags on the doorknob of our entry door, so I will remember to take them out to the car the next time I go out.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  Dunkinjean on 6/3/2010, 8:26 pm

We have bought recycle tote bags from the grocery stores to use also. Unfortunately my husband &/or I tend to forget them. Our grocery stores also give you credit for using either the tote bags or used bags again.

I didn't realize that if I forget my tote bags I should therefore use paper bags instead - thanks for reminding me.

You are correct in stating that it does take awhile to adjust to using recycle tote bags.

Happy Gardening everyone....

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  Wyldflower on 6/3/2010, 10:08 pm

Chocolatepop... do you have crochet instructions for these bags? Looks to me like they are the ones made from old plastic shopping bags.
good idea

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  chocolatepop on 6/3/2010, 10:40 pm

@Wyldflower wrote:Chocolatepop... do you have crochet instructions for these bags? Looks to me like they are the ones made from old plastic shopping bags.
good idea

yup. they are made from old grocery/shopping bags. Different stores=different colors (Target has the red ones).

This is one I had saved:
http://www.marloscrochetcorner.com/Plastic%20Bag%20tote.html

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  jtwenting on 6/4/2010, 1:54 am

Plastic bags aren't banned (yet?) in (most of) Europe, Lafee. Stores started charging for them in the 1980s to recover a bit of the cost of purchasing them.
By now those charges are usually explained away in some greenie context, and it may indeed help reduce waste (though many people used to use those old plastic grocery bags to hold household waste after rather than buying binliners), but the real reason was simply to save a bit of money.

But indeed, reusable bags are big in a large part of Europe, more so than anywhere else I've visited.
Big exception is Spain, where supermarket staff look really weird if you put your groceries in a bag you brought with you rather than taking several from the large pile of free bags available at every checkout counter.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  silverbug on 6/5/2010, 7:59 am

I used to be one to always forget my bags too, but you have to shift your attitude and make it second nature and before you know it, you won't be forgetting. It makes it soooo much nicer. I said it in the other post, and I'll say it here, there are some GREAT reusable bags to be had at Sam's Club, so, I'd be willing to bet that Costco has something similar. Very large, boxed at the bottom, so things actually sit in there, versus rolling around. NOW, I can't even find bags in my house for my rummage sale, because we never, ever take any away from the store. I hate when the baggers try and sneak in those flimsy plastic bags to cover meat or my soap. I mean, come on, I'm going to be in the car wtih this stuff a total of 5 minutes. I don't need a piece of garbage to tote home because I"m going to have meat mixed with my cereal for 5 minutes. LOLOLOL.

Seriously, I highly advocate finding a system to get in the habit of using your own bags as much as you can. I am not perfect, no one is, but for me, I just always put them by the door when I empty them, and take them back to my car the next time I go out. Maybe tack your grocery list TO the bags, so that you grab the list and the bags on the way to the store. Once you create the habit, which should only take two weeks, you won't ever forget....(or at least forget a whole lot less)

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  new2this on 6/5/2010, 8:50 am

I keep my reusable bags right in my vehicle - can't forget them!

My local grocery store has a recycling center (a very large bin) right in the front for any plastic bags and bread sacs. And when I use my reusable bags, I think they give .05 cents/bag discount.

I think the US needs to look at packaging. I have not traveled abroad, but have heard that Europe does not package everything in plastic like we do. Here in the US, we package individual items in their own plastic wrap, then we go ahead and bundle them together and wrap them all in plastic again - such a waste!!!

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plastic bags

Post  janetgouvas on 6/5/2010, 10:29 am

I have been reusing my plastic bags for years. Mostly for wastecan liners but for a lot of other things too. Several years ago I saw a crochet bag much like the one chocolatepop makes. I copied the idea and have been making them ever since. If you crochet or knit you don't really need directions, just copy the shape of the store bag. I just make mine a little larger and I lined one with an old windshield sunshade for the cold things. I just put all of them into one bag as soon as they are empty and clip my car keys to the handle. That way I only forget the grocery list

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  jtwenting on 6/10/2010, 8:38 am

@new2this wrote:I think the US needs to look at packaging. I have not traveled abroad, but have heard that Europe does not package everything in plastic like we do. Here in the US, we package individual items in their own plastic wrap, then we go ahead and bundle them together and wrap them all in plastic again - such a waste!!!

Not the US, the world...
And food is far from the worst offender (though in total volume it may be).
What about a memory card for a digital camera, about the size of a postage stamp, being packed in a sturdy plastic container (good, it's its carrying case) which is shrinkwrapped before being placed in a cartboard display container and shrinkwrapped again.
That container is then placed in a box with some flyers, which is shrinkwrapped.
The box is then placed inside one of those hard plastic clamshells which are impossible to open without brute force (I keep a pair of boltcutters for it).
By now that postage stamp sized memory card weighing a few grams has packaging weighing a few hundred grams, most of it non-biodegradable.
Packaged thus it's shipped from China or Korea halfway around the world and delivered to a store that puts it inside an anti-theft container before putting it on store shelves (at least that one is removed at the checkout counter and reused).

And that's not a made up story, I've experienced it myself with a variety of products.

At least here I don't see much of individually packaged apples and other fruits and vegetables (exceptions being places like highway truckstops, where a single item is the expected sales volume, and there they're usually not packaged at all).
I still wonder why apples need to be sold 4-6 on a plastic tray covered in shrinkwrap plastic foil, rather than in a paper bag (or clear plastic bag for marketing purposes), but I concede it's easier for stocking shelves and packing trucks that way.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  LaFee on 6/10/2010, 8:52 am

No, Europe is actively trying to cut down on packaging -- when I was selling to the European counterparts to Home Depot and Lowe's, it was part of the vendor guidelines that packaging must be limited as much as is possible...with specific standards set for *every* product category.

There are still some glaring exceptions, but they're usually ones that for which there isn't much of an alternative...cookies for kids' snacks are wrapped 3-4 to a small package, then 5 or 6 packages in a cardboard box...because the alternative is wrapping them 3-4 in either a baggie or a piece of plastic (zero sum game!)...but things like body soap? You buy the bottle the first time, then you buy a plastic sausage filled with the liquid soap..and the sausage goes in the recycle bin. (Way cheaper that way, too...) I even bought a refill of instant coffee the other day...intended to be poured into the glass jar already sitting on your cabinet. (disclaimer: we only drink instant coffee when we travel!)

It isn't possible to eliminate all the packaging all the time, as breakage and pilferage are unfortunately a fact of life, but as someone who has been doing the bulk of the shopping for the family in both Europe and the US, Europe has a lot less packaging than the US.

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Re: Plastic Bags

Post  Colin.B on 6/10/2010, 11:20 am

When i used to sell things i bought on ebay i went to a shop to buy 100 bags ,i found it funny when the gentleman asked if i,d like a bag for them .On a serious note though i use all hessian type bags to do my weekly shop 1 they are mile better to carry because they dont cut into your fingers ,and 2 they last for years and dont break very easily .

Another great multi purpose back i like is the large Ikea bags (made from recycled materials )they sell for a pound , they are great for shifting rubbish including builders rubble , great for throwing all the dry washing in to take upstairs and i even have a friend who grows potatoes in them . Living right by a canal plastic bags annoy me because they often hurt wild life i the area and i dont think we really need them any more and they should be banned worldwide imo

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Re: Plastic Bags

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