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Sunday, August 06, 2006

FEATURE: Plastic Bag Alternatives

I have to say that I share Al’s obsession with carrier bags and with Tescos announcing that they plan to phase them out I thought I’d just write a little something about my plastic bag alternative.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a handbag person, I buy handbags before clothes, people give them to me, I make them, I have them everywhere around the house, I love them! Because of this fixation I’m never short of a bag for any occasion even weekly the food shopping trip.

Although I’m working very hard on phasing out the supermarket, taking your own bags there is worth it just to see the look on the cashier’s face when you announce that you don’t need a carrier bag, because you have your own. Yes! Feels good to be a rebel!

You can use your own bags instead of plastic ones and have a positive impact in more than one way. Of course, you’re cutting down on the number of plastic bags being used but you can also recycle, donate to a charity or support fair trade at the same time. Here’s a few of the ways I’ve cut down on my plastic bag consumption and made the most of my bag infatuation:

Magazines – OK, lets admit it, we all buy those magazines just because they have a freebie and how many of them give away a free shopping bag?

Organic cotton or hemp tote bags – They’re tough and will last you for ages. and a couple of places you can buy them from are Siam Intercontinental Handicrafts and The Clever Baggers. My personal favourite however is People Tree's 'We have the skills' bag because its organic, fair trade, beautifully decorated and such a good price.

Just Google ‘hemp tote bags’ or ‘organic cotton bags’ and see how many results you get.

Charity shops – Charity shops have lots and lots of these kinds of bags, the benefits of buying them from here is obvious. Use the Association of Charity Shops website to find your local charity shop.

Make your own – This is the most fun option and you can have a complete original. Making a tote bag is easy peasy and you can recycle at the same time by using old clothes, sheets curtains, anything. Go on, dust of that sewing machine and get creative. Henrietta’s Handbags has LOADS of free patterns or you could go without a pattern and freestyle!

Make Hay - Web design making a positive difference

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At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Geraldine said...

Thanks for a great post. Totebags are such a good idea and can be so much fun too...making a statment in more ways than one. All good points, especially about reducing plastic consumption. G

At 11:19 PM, Blogger melissa said...

I've started using my own bags at the supermarket. I've been using a set of chico bags, they're the size and shape of a normal plastic grocery bag, but much stronger (made of nylon) and pack into their own little stuff sack. they pack so small i keep on in my purse at all times. I do get funny looks from the bag boys at the check out. I handed him my stack of bags and he looked at them like he'd never seen a bag before. Not just *these* bags... any bags. as if an alien had just landed infront of him. OY!

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Jane said...

A distinct plus to using your own bags (and ideally shopping on foot) is that not only do you (sometimes) make the assistants think twice about always handing bags out (a couple of the staff at shops near me no longer ask me - they know I have my own?) but you don't buy as much, therefore don't create as much waste! It really does make you think twice - if you can't carry the item, will you really use it?

I've used a rucksack (better for posture than handbags) for years, complete with an emergency bag inside. The main challenge I have is my son likes to have a "white bag" with his shopping in it sometimes! Ah well... I'll just have to carry an extra one for him (there's always a small rucksac for him as well!)


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