Bag Hag, part 2: Bans and Best Reusable Bags

Plastic Bag Ban Update:  The City council banned plastic bags this week.  Not all plastic bags, just checkout counter bags, the ones that look like this: 9/14/12

And this:

Yum. (Photo credit: Environment Oregon) 

Not covered by the ban:  plastic bags on rolls in the produce section …

Photo credit: Food Bags

… plastic bags for meat and the thicker bags you get at clothing stores.  Stores are also required to charge 5 cents for paper bags.

Judging from letters to the editor, some people are pretty upset.  One writes he won’t shop in our town anymore.  Another that the nickel charge for paper bags will hurt low income people, and that paper bags are worse than plastic ones. Another writes that the number of bags in the rivers and oceans is exaggerated and asks why we should ban one kind of plastic if we aren’t going to ban all plastic?  Someone else complained about having to wash reusable bags.

What a bunch of hooey.  Forget the bickering about whether the city was right or wrong.  We don’t need throwaway bags.  Bring your own.  Use them many times. Toss them in the washer with your socks.  It’s easy.  Once you get used to it, it’s fun.

KEY:  buy bags you like.  Don’t invest in any old thing.  Any woman who carries a purse will tell you, if you hate your bag, you won’t use it.  Three recommendations:

  • String bags.  Like a Volkswagen Beetle stuffed with clowns, you can fit an astounding number of things into string bags.  They are inexpensive, washable and last forever.  Store clerks like them.  People ask if you’re from Europe.
Photo credit:
  • L.L. Bean bag.  This is an investment.  It starts at about $25 new, but like the string bags, these babies last for decades.  Because they have sturdy sides, clerks (and you) don’t have to fiddle with holding them open when loading up, very handy at farmer’s markets.  The bottom is steady enough to support cartons of eggs, berries and other delicacies.  I like the long-handled version which can be carried as a shoulder bag.

  • Lightweight, see-through mesh bags.  My grocery store sells 3B Bags, but there are several brands out there. They weigh next to nothing, are washable, durable, and inexpensive.  Use these, and there is no need for the produce bags on a roll.

Don’t wait for a city ban.  Bans start fights about the law rather than discussions about sensible solutions.  Move the lowly shopping bag up in the world to something worth a little thought and investment.  We need fossil fuels and trees for more important things.

What do you think about the bag fights?  Do you use re-usable bags?  Any favorites?

Earlier post on ins and outs of the bag war:


  • Thanks for blogging about this issue and getting the message out about a serious environmental problem that can be easily and inexpensively solved. My wife and I have been voluntarily using reusable bags for several years now, and they are provided by the supermarket where we buy our groceries.

    And hey, I LIKE those string bags in your photo – because the woman holding them looks like she would look good wearing a string bikini! 😀 Just letting you know that it’s still really me here, Julia. Lol!


  • Thanks Chris. Ha ha! Adding a string bag or two to your collection moves you right up in the fashion world. It did take a couple of years for me to remember to bring bags on a regular basis, but I bet if I had to pay a nickel, it would have been easier, especially since that was in the dark ages when a nickel was worth something. Good for you guys for using reusables! Thanks for the visit.


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