Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: Sebastienne on March 11, 2013, 02:00:19 AM

Title: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Sebastienne on March 11, 2013, 02:00:19 AM
This may come off as a ridculous topic, but I'd love any hints and advice.

Our city recently banned plastic grocery bags. I understand and support the rationale behind the ban, but I also come from a household where we tend to reuse shopping bags, whether for small household trash cans, cat litter disposal, or bringing lunch to work. This means that we don't have many spare grocery bags, but also haven't really stocked up on reusable bags.

We've been out of town for a few weeks, so I just did my first major shopping trip post-bag-ban. I ended up buying 6 disposable bags for $150 worth of groceries, and I'm still working out how to juggle the no-bags-in-the-store situation.  So for those of you who have encountered this already:

* I'm assuming you keep a stack of reusable bags in the car. How do you know how many to take into the store with you? Do you just put them back in the car, or do you wash them intermittently?

* What do you do about the alternate uses of grocery bags, now that they're no longer free--particularly re: lining small trashcans?

I'm hung up, too, on how annoying it's going to be to go into a store to buy one or two things, and then I remember a few more things to buy...and I don't have a bag with me (my normal purse won't fit a full shopping bag), and I have to pay another dollar just so I can bring my stuff out of the store with me.

Advice would be helpful!
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: StarFaerie on March 11, 2013, 02:28:32 AM


* I'm assuming you keep a stack of reusable bags in the car. How do you know how many to take into the store with you? Do you just put them back in the car, or do you wash them intermittently?
I take them all in packed into 1 bag. I wash them if they get really mucky but they lose their stiffness when washed so I try to avoid it. They don't really get very dirty, except the cold stuff bag, which I wipe out every time. Often they break before they get yucky anyway.


* What do you do about the alternate uses of grocery bags, now that they're no longer free--particularly re: lining small trashcans?
I bought a really big trashcan for the kitchen and buy proper garbage bags. For other stuff, the local shop has biodegradeable shopping bags that I can buy for 10c each when I shop there (for milk and so on) and I use those. 

I'm hung up, too, on how annoying it's going to be to go into a store to buy one or two things, and then I remember a few more things to buy...and I don't have a bag with me (my normal purse won't fit a full shopping bag), and I have to pay another dollar just so I can bring my stuff out of the store with me.

Can I suggest getting a small foldable bag to take in with you? I was surprised how small some can fold up.

Advice would be helpful!

The big issue for me is leaving the bags in the car and then remembering when I get to the register and having to buy more. My car is getting full of the bags because although it's been a few years I still forget regularly.

The thing I love is the feeling when I am shopping in another state, realise I don't have my bags and they just start bagging. And then I remember that they don't have the ban. I get a little thrill every time as though I'm being bad.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Craftyone on March 11, 2013, 03:07:01 AM
I moved from Western Australia where some stores were moving that way (but not many) to Canberra where it's the situation like yours.

I bought a fold up bag like this
Foldaway Shopping Bag (http://www.chinatraderonline.com/Bag/PP-Shopping-Bag/Foldaway-Polyester-Shopping-Bag-112256201.htm)
from a $2 type shop and keep it in my shoulder bag for incidental shopping.

While I was googling the above for a picture I came across this tutorial to make your own
Make your own foldaway shopping bag (http://craftyady.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/fold-away-shopping-bag-tutorial.html)

For the main grocery shopping we keep some recyclable bags folded up in a cooler/insulated bag and take that into the shop.  We keep it in the kitchen as we don't take one particular car if we're going shopping (depends who wants to drive, what car has more fuel etc etc) and have just got in the habit of grabbing it when we go shopping.

Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Bijou on March 11, 2013, 03:12:08 AM
We keep them in the car and if you shop with a list you will know more or less how many you need to bring in with you.  We have all the bags stored in one of them so just can bring the whole thing into the store and you will have what you need.  As for small stuff, the stores here will give a small paper bag to you for free, but otherwise it is 10 cents to buy a regular sized paper grocery bag.  And if you bring your own in they give you a ten cent discount for each bag you provide.
I also miss the plastic bags for various uses around the house.  Also, any extras we had of those were recycled at the bin in the store.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: camlan on March 11, 2013, 07:06:03 AM
I use these bags: http://www.reuseit.com/store/reuseit-workhorse-original-bluesign-fabric-p-2391.html?slave_id=2393 (http://www.reuseit.com/store/reuseit-workhorse-original-bluesign-fabric-p-2391.html?slave_id=2393). A bit more expensive than the ones you buy in stores, but they are very sturdy and don't have any company logos on them. They are designed to fit the racks where the disposable bags go.

They fold up very small. I keep one in my purse all the time, for small random purchases. Then I have an LL Bean canvas tote which holds the rest. The tote stays in the car most of the time. I take it into the store with me, with all the reusable bags inside. The heavier food and drink goes into the tote because it is easier to carry. Then the other reusable bags get filled. If there are extra bags, they just get tossed back into the tote.

Once I'm home, I unpack the groceries, fold up all the bags, put them back in the tote and hang the tote on the doorknob of the front door, to remind me to take it back out to the car the next time I go. When I lived in a state that had returnable bottles, I kept the tote on a hook in the kitchen and put the empty bottles in it. Then I could grab the bottles and the shopping bags in one fell swoop.

As for plastic bags for the little things around the house, you can buy them. Or you can find a good friend who lives outside the city who has a huge stash of them because they aren't picked up with curbside recycling and she can never remember which stores recycle them. Such a friend might be willing to let you take many of her plastic bags home on a regular basis.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Dazi on March 11, 2013, 07:22:20 AM
I have one really good insulated one and several regular ones.

I find it easiest to just take them all in with me.  Once I unload my groceries at home, I just fold them all back up, put them into the insulated bag, and pop them right back into my trunk.  I try to line one with a small trash can liner, so meats don't leak all over the place.  That saves me from having to wash them as frequently.  You can usually purchase small trash can liners (4 gallon or so) in a roll of 100+ for around a $1.00.

My DH is one who likes to take his lunch in a grocery bag, I much prefer my super insulated lunch box (I like that I can keep it at my desk. Much less risk of food thievery).  As it is, I can still get a couple plastic bags at no charge if I run out of space in my reusable ones since there isn't a ban here.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Winterlight on March 11, 2013, 07:27:05 AM
For grocery shopping I normally carry 2 bags plus my pack. If I'm buying more than will fit in those two bags, I've got too much. Those kind don't need washed. I have a few cloth ones in different sizes that do get washed when needed for things like bookstores and clothing shops, and I usually just toss one in my pack when I'm going out for the day.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: veryfluffy on March 11, 2013, 07:33:18 AM

* I'm assuming you keep a stack of reusable bags in the car. How do you know how many to take into the store with you? Do you just put them back in the car, or do you wash them intermittently?

I have a whole collection of resusable bags, including plastic ones and fabric ones. I keep a bagful of bags in the car, and just grab the whole thing. Maybe I am a slattern, but I have never even though of washing the bags.

* What do you do about the alternate uses of grocery bags, now that they're no longer free--particularly re: lining small trashcans?
I buy rolls of smaller plastic bin liners. The "value" brands cost about 1p each. Since the disposable plastic shopping bags have little holes in them, these work a lot better anyway.

I'm hung up, too, on how annoying it's going to be to go into a store to buy one or two things, and then I remember a few more things to buy...and I don't have a bag with me (my normal purse won't fit a full shopping bag), and I have to pay another dollar just so I can bring my stuff out of the store with me.
It's just something you get used to. You can get a small string bag or lightweight foldable nylon one that takes barely any room.

I should add that where I live there is no ban or tax on plastic bags, but there is a strong cultural push to get people to use fewer. You just decide you are going to do it, and it doesn't take long to change your own behaviour and remember to carry a shopping bag with you.

[/quote]
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Luci on March 11, 2013, 09:32:34 AM
We don't have the ban yet, but I do try to take the reusable bags with me unless I am running out of wastebasket liners. I'm pretty anal, so when we have a big dinner, I use purchased plastic to line wastebaskets because it just looks better, so I do know they are available and cheap. I'm weird.

I store all of my reusable bags in another reusable on the shelf in the coat closet next to my purse, and I just take them all in with me and use what I need. We have 2 cars, and I don't like to run out to the car after unpacking the bags. Enough trips, already!

I line the bags on the checkout counter in front of what I want to go in that bag. Fresh produce go in washable bags, and fresh and processed meat go in washable, and the bags get washed when they look dirty or are smelly. I wipe out the other bags with a Clorox wipe every few weeks just because. I always wipe the cooler bag down because it gets smelly right away for some reason.

It doesn't take more than maybe 10 extra minutes a week to do all this, and unpacking the already sorted groceries is very easy and faster, and because I pack my cart in sections, it is easy to line up the checkout counter.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Sedorna on March 11, 2013, 09:36:06 AM
Another thing you might want to try are wine bags, which are bags divided into sections in order to hold bottles of wine. They are really good for things like spaghetti sauce and other things in glass jars that you might not want banging against each other.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: jaxsue on March 11, 2013, 10:02:52 AM
I'm wondering if we'll have to guard our reusable grocery bags while we shop. They might become the "new" thing to steal!
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Coralreef on March 11, 2013, 10:34:56 AM
I keep mine in the car.  I even have different sizes, depending on where I'm shopping.  You can get larger nylon bags that scrunch up really small, about the size of a smallish orange, into a little bag.  Those can easily be carried in a purse.  Or if you fold carefully to get it flat, into a back pocket. 

I'm wondering if we'll have to guard our reusable grocery bags while we shop. They might become the "new" thing to steal!

At one point, everyone has the same bags, so no, I don't watch over them and I've never had one stolen.

 
Another thing you might want to try are wine bags, which are bags divided into sections in order to hold bottles of wine. They are really good for things like spaghetti sauce and other things in glass jars that you might not want banging against each other.

I have several of those, they are indeed great for glass items.  Since they are smaller than my regular grocery bags, even with four items inside, they are not overly heavy.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: 2littlemonkeys on March 11, 2013, 11:13:01 AM
We don't have the ban yet but we do shop Aldi a lot, which doesn't automatically give out bags.  You bring your own or purchase one from them.  They also let you use the stock boxes for large items and times when you weren't planning to stop but did.

When we go to the store, we just remember to grab the bags and take them with us.  We store them in the same spot, all nested in the largest bag.   And I have a couple of nylon bags that fold up really small that I keep in my purse for the on-the-fly grocery trips.

For the other uses of plastic bags, I know you can buy a pack of small bags for that.  I see them a lot in the baby and pet sections of stores (for diapers and pet waste).  But I use the store ones for so much stuff, it would be a huge adjustment to not have them readily available.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Cz. Burrito on March 11, 2013, 11:15:32 AM
I have these bags: http://www.reuseit.com/store/reuseit-workhorse-original-bluesign-fabric-p-2391.html?slave_id=2393

A set of four. I've had them for about 6 years and I love them.  They fold up into the little attached pouch and hardly take up any room at all in your purse so you can always have them with you.  They're light, but very strong.  They're the same dimensions as grocery store plastic bags, but hold at least three times as much weight, so I can fit more stuff in fewer bags.

[edit] I see these were already recommended above.  But really.  They deserve another recommendation.   ;D
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 11, 2013, 11:21:25 AM
I've carried my own bags for years.  Some stores that didn't charge for their plastic bags would give you a 5 cent rebate if you used your own.  Now, they all charge.

I prefer cloth ones for groceries - they are more easily washable - and I wash them everytime I buy meat or if they are getting visibly dirty.  For stores other than grocery stores, I'll use the plasticised ones that need to be wiped out.  I'm not as concerned about contamination with those, and the stuff that goes in them, as I am with my grocery ones.

I keep a bunch of bags in the car.  If I forget them in the car, I'll take my groceries out loose in the cart and pack them into the bags at the car.  I also have a little fold up one that I keep in my purse all the time.  It's about the size of a maxipad, all folded up, so it doesn't take much room.

I like the idea of using a wine bag for glass items.  I have one of those so I'll have to remember to take it the next time I might be buying bottles of stuff.

I'm an absolute pack rat so I still have bags kicking around for my kitchen garbage.  Once I don't, I'll use 'kitchen catcher' sized bags for garbage.  I only use one bag a week, at most, so I don't worry about it too much.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Sedorna on March 11, 2013, 11:25:04 AM
A set of four. I've had them for about 6 years and I love them.  They fold up into the little attached pouch and hardly take up any room at all in your purse so you can always have them with you.  They're light, but very strong.  They're the same dimensions as grocery store plastic bags, but hold at least three times as much weight, so I can fit more stuff in fewer bags.
  ;D

That's another advantage of reusable bags. Not only can you fit more stuff into them, but they don't feel as heavy. I suppose, for me, it's because plastic bags tend to dig into my palms and, as a general rule, reusable bags don't.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Zizi-K on March 11, 2013, 11:43:32 AM
Regarding lining small wastebaskets: I just don't do it. I don't ever throw away anything that ewwy-gooey in there, or if I had to (like a feminine product) I just make sure to wrap it up in toilet paper. Once in a great while, the wastebaskets need to be washed, but I have found there's really no need to line them. When they get full, I take them down to the kitchen wastebasket (which is larger and for which I buy bags), and I just dump the garbage in there. Not only is it more environmentally-friendly (not throwing away a plastic bag for every small bunch of garbage), I also don't have to look at that crinkly plastic bunch up at the top of my otherwise clean-looking wastebasket.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: #borecore on March 11, 2013, 11:45:58 AM
Our city banned plastic last week, but we've been going with primarily reusable for years. I stick the bags all in the trunk, stuffed in the oldest bag (the one I don't like to use as much) and the bagger pulls them out of it. Most times, we use 2-4 bags, but we own 7, which is useful because I sometimes forget to put them back in the trunk after using.

I also keep one of those foldable pouch bags stuffed in my purse for non-grocery shopping.
We have found them much more useful than plastic bags -- for picnics, beach trips, laundry, etc. They are so much easier to carry than disposable bags.

We buy rolls of thin, small bags from the dollar store -- one pack of 3/$1 rolls lasts months -- for cat litter needs. And like a PP we don't line small waste baskets; we just empty into the big trashcan regularly.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: CakeBeret on March 11, 2013, 11:59:38 AM
I shop at a grocery store that doesn't offer free bags, although they are still legal in my state.

I have enough bags for about 3 trips to the store. So usually I put them all in the car (all folded up inside one big bag) and take the whole pack into the store. Use what I need, put the others back in the trunk, rinse and repeat next week. Unfortunately I am terrible at remembering to take the bags back to my car once I get them inside ::), so some weeks I have to use free cardboard boxes and/or buy a couple bags.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: EMuir on March 11, 2013, 12:22:45 PM
I put any meat in the bags that are easier to wash, then those ones go in the wash once I get home.  I usually don't wash the bags that transport dry goods unless there has been spillage or leaking.  I do always wash the meat bags though.  My problem is squishing the bags down into a smaller area, it seems that the "bag of bags" takes up a lot of space in my car!
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Slartibartfast on March 11, 2013, 12:26:43 PM
I use reusable bags for EVERYTHING!  Mostly the kind that are fabric-like but feel like they're probably made of paper, and you can get them for a buck with store logos on them . . . although most of mine are Christmas-themed because I got them on clearance for a quarter apiece last January  :)  I do always ask that fresh meat get put in a plastic bag first (so it won't leak), but then we don't actually have a ban on that here.  I always feel wasteful if I forget my bags because I get home and end up with two dozen plastic bags I don't even need.

The reusable bags are also good as overnight bags, diaper bags, coupon bags (I keep my coupon binder in one particular bag, along with a spare diaper or two and a pair of scissors, so I know I have it if I need it), easily accessible carry-on bags for flying which squish under your seat, etc.  I like that if they fall apart or get nasty, I don't have to feel bad about throwing them out.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: CakeBeret on March 11, 2013, 01:15:46 PM
Oh, and also--Marshall's has the prettiest reusable bags (and they are only 99 cents!), although you should use them for lighter items as the handles are not too strong.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Luci on March 11, 2013, 01:39:34 PM
I'm wondering if we'll have to guard our reusable grocery bags while we shop. They might become the "new" thing to steal!

I pull out the baby seat (yuck, I know) and tuck my bag of bags inderneath it, along with my purse and jacket. I put one washable bag on the baby seat for small items - meds and makeup type stuff. Ready to go for that bag! It only gets to be awkward when I have to buy 2 cases of beer and 2 cases of pop. Otherwise, I can reorganize waiting at the check out.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Luci on March 11, 2013, 01:43:01 PM
I have these bags: http://www.reuseit.com/store/reuseit-workhorse-original-bluesign-fabric-p-2391.html?slave_id=2393

A set of four. I've had them for about 6 years and I love them.  They fold up into the little attached pouch and hardly take up any room at all in your purse so you can always have them with you.  They're light, but very strong.  They're the same dimensions as grocery store plastic bags, but hold at least three times as much weight, so I can fit more stuff in fewer bags.

[edit] I see these were already recommended above.  But really.  They deserve another recommendation.   ;D

Missed you! We don't seem to read the same posts anymore.

Well. Thanks for the site. They look easily carried and washable. I'm in for something to carry in my purse for light shopping and other emergencies.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Sebastienne on March 11, 2013, 01:58:20 PM
Thanks for the help, y'all! It does feel a little ridiculous to have to ask about this, but it's a drastic (forced) change in our normal habits. I'm sure we'll get used to it eventually, but at the moment, it just feels a little strange.

I just ordered some stuff from Reusit, which looks awesome. I do have a feeling that I'm going to be buying a lot more bags until it becomes second nature to return them to the car/bring them into the store, but I guess there's no harm in that? 
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: sevenday on March 11, 2013, 01:59:02 PM
Some years back I found something at Walmart that was marketed as a trunk organizer. It's basically nylon, foldable with semi-rigid sides and two handles, with two interior sort of dividers that can be velcroed to the sides to serve as dividers or left undone.  It fits three to four standard-size reusable bags easily, so I can carry three in at once.  And surprisingly strong.  I looked around and I couldn't find an exact replacement, but something like this:  http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Accessories-Veranda-Jumbo-Tote/dp/B005FTM8Y2/ref=sr_1_65?ie=UTF8&qid=1363027958&sr=8-65&keywords=bag+carrier  -- looks about the same and strong enough to handle a fair bit of groceries if you pack the bags in there carefully.   

What I do is once my bags have been emptied of groceries, I give them a shake and a brushoff to make sure they're not dirty or accumulated cat hair (three cats.. yeah) and put them inside the carrier, folded up, and put the carrier on the hope chest I have sitting under my coat rack.  Then when I'm ready to go to the grocery store, I just grab my coat, bag, keys, and the carrier - and out the door I go.  I take the entire thing with me (it's lightweight) - I can put things inside the carrier on top of the bags, then unload at the register, fill up the bags, put bags back in the carrier, and go. 

As for estimating how much you'll need - you can do a "dry run" at home.  Pack a bag full of whatever things you normally get and test for weight and bulkiness.   Add on a couple bags above that for things you don't buy regularly but might at some point.  An insulated bag isn't necessary for me, since I live pretty close to the store, but useful for those of you who are further out or have particularly temperature-sensitive items.  When my precious carrier finally gives up the ghost (five years and counting!) I'll probably invest in a wheeled cart.

And no, there's no harm (other than cost, and Walmart routinely sells their standard ones for fifty to 75 cents) in having extra bags.  They can be useful for other things than groceries!  Picnics and things like that.  To help you remember to use them, do what I do - keep them where your keys are, so you'll grab and go.  I also, for a time, had a post-it taped to the inside of my car window. "Do you have your bags?" So I'd remember to reach back and grab them.  Then once it became habit I took down the post-it.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Waterlight on March 11, 2013, 05:37:04 PM
This may come off as a ridculous topic, but I'd love any hints and advice.

Our city recently banned plastic grocery bags. I understand and support the rationale behind the ban, but I also come from a household where we tend to reuse shopping bags, whether for small household trash cans, cat litter disposal, or bringing lunch to work. This means that we don't have many spare grocery bags, but also haven't really stocked up on reusable bags.

We've been out of town for a few weeks, so I just did my first major shopping trip post-bag-ban. I ended up buying 6 disposable bags for $150 worth of groceries, and I'm still working out how to juggle the no-bags-in-the-store situation.  So for those of you who have encountered this already:

* I'm assuming you keep a stack of reusable bags in the car. How do you know how many to take into the store with you? Do you just put them back in the car, or do you wash them intermittently?
My city banned plastic bags last July.  I have several reusable bags--two or three fold-up ones that can be easily tucked into a purse, one cloth one made by a friend of my stepmom's, and a couple of big tote-sized purses.  The nylon ones don't get all that dirty, but I throw the cloth one in with the rest of my laundry when it needs it.

* What do you do about the alternate uses of grocery bags, now that they're no longer free--particularly re: lining small trashcans?
I buy regular garbage bags since my apartment lease requires all garbage to be in tied plastic bags.  When I don't have a reusable bag with me, I'll buy a paper bag at the grocery store for 5 cents... and then use the paper bag for my recycling, since I can recycle the bag along with the rest of it!  I carry my lunches either in a purse big enough to carry a Lean Cuisine meal or--if my bag is smaller than that and I have leftovers--a small plastic container of soup, pasta salad, whatever I need to use up.

I'm hung up, too, on how annoying it's going to be to go into a store to buy one or two things, and then I remember a few more things to buy...and I don't have a bag with me (my normal purse won't fit a full shopping bag), and I have to pay another dollar just so I can bring my stuff out of the store with me.

Advice would be helpful!
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Julian on March 11, 2013, 06:42:40 PM
We don't have an outright ban where I live, although some parts of the state do.

I keep all the grocery type bags hanging on a hook in the kitchen, and on a planned grocery shop I take them, throw them in the car and go.

For more spontaneous trips, I have a couple of lightweight bags that fold up to next-to-nothing that live in my handbag.  One is a full size backpack of light nylon that folds up to about the size of a pack of cigs.  The other two are silk totes that a particular dress shop here uses instead of plastic bags - they're light, strong, pretty and fold up to nothing.

I still have a stash of plastic bags at home, but I won't use them for bin liners etc because to a one they have holes in them, very annoying.  For bin liners I buy a roll of biodegradable plastic bags - I prefer that to regular plastic, experience has shown that within about 3 months exposure to the outside elements they really do break down.  The old plastic bags get used for kitchen scraps, vege peelings etc - nothing that will leak. 
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Minmom3 on March 11, 2013, 07:15:24 PM
When I don't bring in enough bags from the car (quite frequently...) I have them bag up what they can, and just put the rest of the stuff back in the cart, telling them I will bag up the rest at the car, as I have lots more bags out there.  I think I have 12-18 bags.  Some are flimsy non-woven pieces of junk (only good for bread or chips or something equally feather weight) and some are woven nylon, or cotton canvas, and they can hold ANYTHING the store sells. 
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: KenveeB on March 11, 2013, 07:20:35 PM
I bought a set of reuseable bags from FlyLady a few years ago, and they're great. There are two insulated bags and three regular ones. They hold all my weekly shopping without any problem. I just keep them all folded up in one bag and keep them in the back of my car. After I've bought groceries, I fold them all up again and hang them on the doorknob to the garage so I remember to put them back in the car the next time I leave. For miscellaneous shopping trips, I have a bag I bought at Target that folds up like a standard envelope. It lives in my purse, so I can pull it out randomly.

Once you get into the habit of using the bags, it's very easy. I only occasionally get plastic bags, usually at Target because they're a nice size to use for cleaning the cats' litterbox. :)
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: VorFemme on March 11, 2013, 08:09:05 PM
Rip stop nylon is strong and packs really, really small.  I have two large bags (same size as brown paper grocery bags) and one small bag (same size as the plastic ones) that I made twenty odd years ago that smash down to fit in a case about the size of a glasses case.

Sadly, every time we'd move (military), I'd mislay it for months....might be why they are still in good shape.  They and a net bag (not quite as easily smushed) fit in a tote bag with my coupon holder (and a couple of library books, if I'm around a library to turn them in or pick them up) with space to spare.

All I have to do is remember to carry the yellow tote bag with the purple flowers on it in with me.....which I don't always do if I'm only going to pick up "a couple of things".

I've started carrying a smaller purse since the 1990s, so I don't always have space in the purse for the "eyeglass case".  Just got a "new" tote bag/purse for a trip - when I get back, I'll have to see how the nylon bags fit......

It might be possible to take the lining apart and add a couple more pockets to the inside.......I'll have to think about it.  Because it might be a little hard to sew it with as many holes as there are in it already (long story involving Salvation Army shopping trip and a decision to replace the lining - but not thinking about adapting it FIRST).
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: JoW on March 11, 2013, 08:21:51 PM
I keep my reusable bags in the trunk of my car, all stuffed in the largest one.  I always take in too many bags.  I impulse buy for charity - anything useful and at least 75% off, so I often buy more than I planned purchases. 

Disposable bags are still available here.  I have lots of them.  But I usually put my trash in pet food bags or potato chip bags or the bag that lines a cereal box.  I have also used cereal boxes and the cardboard box that originally held 12 cans of Coke.  You get the idea - what ever I have kicking around.  For light weight trash you can use dry cleaning bags, just tie a knot where the hanger went through the bag. 
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Luci on March 11, 2013, 09:20:23 PM
I line the bags on the checkout counter in front of what I want to go in that bag. Fresh produce go in washable bags, and fresh and processed meat go in washable, and the bags get washed when they look dirty or are smelly. I wipe out the other bags with a Clorox wipe every few weeks just because. I always wipe the cooler bag down because it gets smelly right away for some reason.

It doesn't take more than maybe 10 extra minutes a week to do all this, and unpacking the already sorted groceries is very easy and faster, and because I pack my cart in sections, it is easy to line up the checkout counter.

I timed myself today at the store. I bought $216 worth of groceries, no meat.

With my organizing my purchases into the cart as I went along, putting the bags on the counter for the following items, the cashier was beeping as fast as she could and I kept up - no loss there.

Once I got my bags into the house and Lucas taking care of the beer and a couple of housecleaning items that he requested, I got everything stashed away, including the yogurt and puddings out of their cardboards and on the fridge shelves and the bags folded wiped as needed and in the big bag, in 20 minutes. I didn't have fruit to wash or meat to repackage for the freezer this time.

I'm just saying my method works for me with no time lost for the reusable bags. Remember, it takes time to roll and stash the plastic bags for reuse, too.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Rohanna on March 11, 2013, 09:33:53 PM
The thing with reusable grocery bags is that you need to wash them, and you need to use them often:

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2013/02/reusable-grocery-bags-can-kill-unless-washed.html

If you don't, then they can be dangerous and leave a bigger "footprint" than the disposable kind (particularly if you re-use the disposable ones for garbage). Be mindful of how you wash them, because some washing methods, again, will leave a bigger "footprint" in terms of energy and detergent disposal than the disposables- same thing with drying. Some bags are poorly designed to be washed- so make sure to select ones that will stand up to multiple washing cycles- ones that have the kinds of plastic coatings that go brittle and crack will wash badly, wear poorly and harbor bacteria better.

I read somewhere that the average reusable bag needs to be used 30 times before it "evens out" with a plastic disposable- so make sure you use 'em to make them worth it :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reusable_shopping_bag
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Luci on March 11, 2013, 10:19:58 PM
The thing with reusable grocery bags is that you need to wash them, and you need to use them often:

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2013/02/reusable-grocery-bags-can-kill-unless-washed.html

If you don't, then they can be dangerous and leave a bigger "footprint" than the disposable kind (particularly if you re-use the disposable ones for garbage). Be mindful of how you wash them, because some washing methods, again, will leave a bigger "footprint" in terms of energy and detergent disposal than the disposables- same thing with drying. Some bags are poorly designed to be washed- so make sure to select ones that will stand up to multiple washing cycles- ones that have the kinds of plastic coatings that go brittle and crack will wash badly, wear poorly and harbor bacteria better.

I read somewhere that the average reusable bag needs to be used 30 times before it "evens out" with a plastic disposable- so make sure you use 'em to make them worth it :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reusable_shopping_bag

Thank you. I kind of knew that instinctively, which I hinted at in my earlier posts with my personal sanitation methods, but I really didn't know it was that bad. I will continue with my habits. And, yes, many of my bags have been used 30 times and the washing with other laundry has has little impact. It's the Clorox wipes I question, but I have trouble with just a tad of bleach or vinegar on a damp rag.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: JoW on March 11, 2013, 10:31:29 PM
The thing with reusable grocery bags is that you need to wash them, .........
I half agree with that.  Yes, if you buy raw meat that bag needs to be washed before it gets used again.  And if you buy raw produce you probably should wash the bag.  But the last time I used mine was at WalMart.  They had winter stuff marked down 75%.  I bought 10 hats.  That bag didn't need to be washed.   The bag that held 10 cans of cat food didn't need to be washed, either. 
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Katana_Geldar on March 11, 2013, 11:00:32 PM
Got a chiller bag to get prawns, must rem,ebr to wipe it out before using it.

We accumulated a lot of bags (not sure how) and ended up receiving the in the bin outside the supermarket. That was a month ago, but they're building up again.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Moralia on March 12, 2013, 06:54:10 PM
I've been using reuseables for years, so our new ban bag isn't much of a change. I keep a couple of bags in the glovebox and a small one in my purse for everyday stuff.  For the grocery trips, I put my bags in the shabbiest bag and use a carabiner clip to hang them out of the way under the handle of the grocery cart.
Title: Re: Reusable grocery bag help!
Post by: Bluenomi on March 12, 2013, 07:35:17 PM
We've had bags banned and it does take a bit of getting used to. You have to train yourself to remember to take them with you when you do the shopping. DH always forgets when he ducks in so ends up having to buy one of their 15cent reusable ones.

I always have a few of the compact ones (I've got some really good ones from Envirosac for the Aussies) in my car and one in my handbag for quick trips.

You can also buy supermarket sized bags by the roll (with all the usual garbage bags) for those things at home you use them for. I have a roll for my bin in the loo which is the right size.