Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Going Green? Start here.

Market Bag from maytreeark
 Some people are addicted to gambling, sky diving, and Starbucks. Not me, I am addicted to collecting (and creating) awesome reusable bags. What kind of addiction is that? Ha! My eclectic collection seems to catch eyes every time I'm at the grocery. I don't do it for the attention, as if pushing the over-sized race car cart through the store with 2 escaping boys isn't distracting enough! But my bags have offered up multiple opportunities to talk about the benefits and importance of recycling/reusing to fellow grocery getters both young and old.
Reusable Tote from Suzuya

I had to make a quick run into the store just a few days ago, and I went in bag less. I actually cringed at the thought of bringing home a yucky plastic bag when I was checking out. Then came the pang of guilt. I wasn't raised in an eco- concious family, and I admit it... my first 20 something years on this planet I probably wasn't as Earth friendly as I could've been. I think that the real turning point for me came along with a blessing in the shape of a baby boy bundle. There is an old Indian Proverb that I like to share, "We don't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." My families 'green' transition was a modest one, and we are far from being as efficient and self sustaining as I hope to be some day. Making the decision to cut back on waste, conserve energy, and reduce out impact on the Earth overall and deciding where to start was the hardest part.
 
One of my first steps, and I think one of the easiest for 'going green' is getting into the habit of BYOB. No not bring your own beer- but Bring Your Own Bags! How many times have you stood at the checkout stand wishing you’d remembered to bring your own bags?   Recent studies show that 50% of Americans want to use their own bags, but only about 25% remember to do it. We are up against our own habits and, let’s face it: at the end of the day, there is often more on our minds than reusable bags. (Ain't that the truth?) As Mark Twain said:  “Habit is habit and not to be flung out the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”  

Reusable Produce Bags from TNTees
Here are 10 ways to help coax reusable bags into your shopping trips where you can use them.


1.  Put your bags in the front seat of your car before you start out for the store.  That way, you will see them and remember when you get there.  You are more likely to forget if you put them in the trunk.

2.  Hang them on the garage doorknob after emptying them so you remember to get them in your car.

3.  Take them right out and put them in your car when you empty them.  Less clutter in the house!

4.  Write “REUSABLE BAGS” at the top of your shopping list as a visual reminder

5.  Get one or two small pocket sized bags like TrashN2Tees Upcycled Tshirt bags to keep in your purse for emergencies and impulse buying. 

6.  Invest in bags that you actually like.  You are more likely to use them if you like them.  

7.  Put bags on your mental list of things you want to take when you go shopping.  For example, ask yourself, do I have my keys, my cell phone, my shopping list, and my bags?

8.  Get bags in different colors so you can make the shopping bag part of your look for the day.   Who says you can’t go green in style? (linked up to some of my favorites)

9.  Have a few extras in your car in case you leave them at home.

10.  Decide that if you forget to bring the bag into the store, you will go out and get them before check out, or put items back in the basket and bag them yourself at the car. It won’t take more than once or twice to train yourself to bring them in the first time!

Whether you are making effort to green your lifestyle (good on ya mate!) or are already crunchy, one of my favorite sites for reference & inspiration is Practically Green. They offer you a personalized road map with actions to take and products recommendations. I've been doing better remembering my bags, but one change I still haven't made is successfully composting. My challenge to you is to make 1 green resolution today then tell me about it. This month I'll dedicate the blog to inspiring & encouraging the changes you share & together we'll go green one baby step at a time.

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