Are we drowning in reusable grocery bags?

  • Article by: Jeff Strickler , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2013 - 6:36 PM

“Green” grocery bags once were going to save the planet. Now they’re multiplying in closets.

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mpls5555Feb. 23, 13 6:28 AM

"All things in moderation" is a great mantra for a lot of human behavior, including being "green." While I support a healthier environment and recycling, I think we'll look back on some of these "green initiatives" 10 or 20 years from now and laugh. These reusable bags that few people use might be one of them. Since those plastic bags are so thin now and are often made from recycled material, and if they get burned in the waste-to-energy facility (burner) in Minneapolis, I fail to understand how this is so awful. If they're being sent to landfills, that's another story and I think the solution to our plastic bag problem is to use compostable or quickly decomposing material, even if it costs more.

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george13Feb. 23, 13 7:39 AM

I use "re-usable" bags to store plastic bags. Then, when the re-usable is full, it's easy to throw away the whole thing.

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comment229Feb. 23, 13 7:42 AM

If you want to promote the use of reusable bags in all stores, it would have to be an absolute; bring your own bags from home, none provided free at the store, and if you forget, go home and get them, or buy new ones AT COST. Would I like this? No, and yes, I would complain, and then I would comply knowing it is probably the right thing to do.

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comment229Feb. 23, 13 7:44 AM

PS... We do use all the merchandise thin plastic bags we get at Menards and Walmart etc. They make great liners for garbage cans and I could write a book about the other uses for them too (line paint roller trays and toss when done).

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cmoconnorFeb. 23, 13 8:38 AM

Donate your extra reusable bags (in good condition) to your local food shelf or shelter. The residents at the shelter at which I work really appreciate having a decent way to carry around their possessions.

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nmulloyFeb. 23, 13 8:45 AM

I'm a frequent grocery shopper and have 5 large Trader Joe's bags I bring with me every time I shop. I've had the same bags for over 6 years now, and they're so sturdy that I don't see how they'll ever wear out. This is a little unsettling - if they never wear out what will happen to them when I die?

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mdcastleFeb. 23, 13 9:30 AM

It seems environmentalists think there's only two options 1)Use disposable bags, throw away when you get home, and in doing so somehow destroying the earth, or 2) Drag a bunch of cloth bags with you every time you go shopping, resuse them again and again. In reality there's two more options 3)Buy reusuable bags either with good intentions or because the store (IKEA) or local government got all politically correct and disposables aren't avaialable and then shove them in your closet and not reuse them, as per this article or 4)Use disposable bags, and upon getting home reuse them as mini-trash bags for cat boxes or cleaning out your car, and recycling the rest in the bins provided for that at any Walmart.

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swmnguyFeb. 23, 13 9:57 AM

I use the plastic bags as wastebasket liners and kitty litter disposal units. I also take them when I travel (which I do kind of a lot for work), and they come in very handy on the road. I need paper grocery bags because my neighborhood (Regina) is going to be the last area of Minneapolis to get the new one-sort recycling system. Once I no longer need all the paper bags for recycling, I'll use my ever-expanding arsenal of re-usable bags a lot more often.

In Europe and in China, when I've gone to local grocery stores, you have to ask for plastic bags and pay for them. I think we should do that too, once we don't have to have paper bags for recycling. Why not? It's a product that costs the retailer money.

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kivirl4Feb. 23, 1310:16 AM

its hilarious how most of these environmental initiatives backfire, like ethanol. As for not having stores provide bags? What store will volunteer for that? It would drive business away. Unless the govt. mandated that stores did not provide bags, but doing so is not a proper role of government.

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mary2817Feb. 23, 1310:34 AM

I go to Brownsville, TX in the winter where they have outlawed plastic bags (or charge 25 cents for a small one). You'd be surprised how that jogs one's memory to remember your reusable bags.

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