How to make sure you never forget your reusable bags!

reusable-bagDays 7 of our carbon fast focused on reducing plastic disposable carrier bags.

The suggestion read “Reduce the number of plastic bags you use by getting a fabric or reusable bag for shopping. Although plastic bags use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago, most are still made from polyethylene, a non-degradable plastic.”

Recyclable polythene

Fortunately for me, polythene can be recycled at our local supermarket, but still I’m a ‘no plastic bag’ kinda gal.

The last time I used a disposable plastic carrier bag was in April 2008. I remember it well! I was reading an article about the effects of plastic on marine life and showed Mr Green an image of a turtle who had swallowed a carrier bag. I showed him the image and he won’t mind me sharing with you that he cried.

Plastic carrier bag

He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “We’re never taking another plastic carrier bag, EVER again!” and we haven’t!

There have been times when we’re forgotten to take our reusable bags with us. It wasn’t unusual during those first few weeks to turn up at the checkout sans bag, but we persevered and now we seldom forget.

The secret to success was to putting a simple yet effective system in place.

Recycling systems

Everyone has a different set up and it’s important to find the right bags and containers for you. You might need a foldable bag you can attach to your keyring, a cloth bag you can fold up inside your briefcase or a jute bag which you carry your handbag inside. It might be better for you to keep your bags in the car, next to the front door or in the kitchen…Experiment and find out what works for you.

Remember your bags!

A couple of years ago I put together a short You Tube video showing people how we remember to take our bags and reusable containers with us every time we go out shopping.

Tell me, how do you ensure you get to the checkout with your reusable bag?


  1. Small Footprints on March 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    We had the toughest time remembering to bring our reusable bags into the store. We had them in the car but just never remembered to bring them into the store. And then, one day, the light bulb went ON (eco-friendly mental bulb, of course). We realized that we don’t need to bring ANY bag into the store. We simply ask the cashier to put everything back into the basket which we then wheel out to the car and … load everything into our reusable bags or boxes. It’s perfect and makes the cashiers happy because it’s less work for them! So now, it’s never an issue … we always have reusable bags and boxes in the car so … we never forget!

    And by the way … Mr. Green isn’t the only one who cries when innocent, defenseless animals are hurt/killed because of our actions. We should all be crying!!

    Thanks, Mrs. Green!

  2. Mrs Green on March 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    @Small Footprints: Love your idea; I’m too lazy to do all that dumping into the trolley, unpacking and repacking, but I do see lots of people doing this, so it’s an effective way. Glad it works out for you!

  3. Joddle on August 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Small Footprints, absolutely agree that you don’t need to bring your own bags. For small loads you can use your hands without a bag. I always give the cashier a strange look when I am asked if I wan’t a bag for just one or two things.

    I also think social conventions re bag use stifle most people and that they would be embarrassed to refuse a bag. Some people will only use ‘reuseable’ bags that they themselves have purchased especially for that purpose. For me, the solution to a problem is mostly adapting to it and *not buying something. I don’t buy so called ‘reuseable’ bags. Any bag that enters my possession from an empty bread packet to a suitcase is a potential bag