Confessions of a Reusable Bag Addict

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Obsessed with Recycled Bags

A few years ago, it started to become popular in my area to start using recycled or reusable bags for grocery shopping. Instead of taking home plastic bags and doing who knows what with them, it made sense to have recycled bags. The trick was finding a couple of bags you really liked, getting them on sale, and then remembering to take them to the store each visit to utilize them. Since this was ever so trendy in my town, everyone started to put an effort into getting the bags and using them. However, some of us are starting to go too far.

You see, having recycled or reusable bags is a great idea. However, having a ton of reusable bags that sit around are a waste. Instead of having plastic bags piling up in a kitchen cabinet or closet (oh, you know the cabinet or closet I speak of... we all have one), now there are recycled bags replacing them. So is that really any better? Is that really less wasteful? Probably not!

For me, my addiction started out like so many others. I just wanted a couple of bags for transporting groceries. Soon that wasn't enough. Superfresh was willing to give me bags sometimes just for shopping with them. You know... give it to people for free, get them hooked, and then they are willing to pay. Superfresh bags were so adorable with pandas, baby tigers, and birds. Who can say no to a panda bag? No one is capable of turning down a panda... they are just too cute! Once you get used to having one bag, well, you need more from other stores. That is when the obsession with recycled bags began.

How Many Bags Are Too Many Bags?

You might be asking yourself, "How can I tell if I am a recycled bag addict? How much is really too much?" Here are some signs you might just have too many reusable bags:

  • You open your cabinet/closet door and an avalanche of reusable bags fall on your feet.
  • You think you have maybe 5 recycled bags, but when you count them, you have 25.
  • You decided to get the new purple reusable bag at your grocery store because it matches the shirt you are wearing that day.
  • If you go shopping at a store but don't have a bag with you, you start to panic and refuse to buy anything at all.
  • If you go shopping, but don't have a bag with you, you decide just to buy a few more bags.
  • You prefer online shopping, but you just wish there was a way they could ship it to you in a recycled bag, not a box.
  • You bought a new reusable bag because that photo with a kitten on the front was just too cute to pass up.

All of these are signs that you are becoming a reusable bag addict. It happens to the best of us, so try not to be too hard on yourself. You started out with the best of intentions just like the rest of us. You wanted to help the environment, but instead, you began to obsess over those cute reusable bags.

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The Awesomeness of the Reusable Bag

I know it can be difficult to fight the lure of the reusable bags. Some of them have pretty graphics. Many of the companies that produce those bags donate money to charities. Some of the bags have cool handles and double as tote bags. With such a variety of bags, it is tough to choose just a couple of bags to purchase. Not to mention they have so many uses!

You can take them to the beach, use them to pack clothing if you don't have a clothing basket, or even take them to the pool. Many are waterproof, which makes them perfect for travel. Some are even insulated and you can use them as a cooler. I've even seen a few with wheels and a handle. How great is that for traveling with heavy items? With so many uses, no wonder you just can't say no to them!

Break the Cycle of the Recycled Bag Addiction

Now that we've established how awesome reusable bags can be, how do we stop the addiction? First of all, once you have about a dozen, there is no need to buy more unless some start to break. Start taking the bags to different places and leaving them there so no matter when you decide to shop, you have some bags you can take along. For instance, I have bags at home and at work. After all, I've got enough. If someone invites me to go on an unexpected shopping trip during my lunch break, I can take a bag with me so I won't be tempted to buy a new one.

Another helpful tip is to accept that sometimes you will be out somewhere and you won't have a reusable bag with you. That is OK. Many stores have paper bags which are still OK for the environment. If you do end up with a plastic bag, don't panic! They make wonderful trash bags for smaller trash cans in your home. You can use them and feel good that the plastic bag served a purpose.

Most of all, don't stop and look at the recycled bags. It is fine to leave that beautiful bag with snow and pine trees decorations on it at the store. Someone else who is buying reusable bags for the first time can enjoy that bag all winter... you don't need to do the same! For instance, Wegman's is selling super cute Halloween reusable bags right now. I simply don't need that bag even if I desperately want it. I know I have a reusable bag addiction and I must fight it. You can fight it too! You are not alone.

Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle

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Comments 17 comments

afmolinajr profile image

afmolinajr 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

great hub!! recycling those bags are very good to the environment. cheers!


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

Oh boy, don't we all have that closet? lol I'm working on clearing the clutter. Three big totes in my spare room: one for trash, one for Goodwill, one for selling on Ebay. It's beginning to make a dent. Great hub Jeannie. Voted up.


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Jeannie, somewhere my grandmother is loving this article, lol!! She actually had a bit of an obsession with plastic bags back in the day and even though you are talking about reusable bags this is what came to mind for me. Sorry I couldn't resist :). Totally enjoyed and have of course voted up, shared and tweeted too!!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

afmolinajr - Thanks so much for checking out my hub!

lrc7815 - I just had to clear out a bunch of stuff from my closets, too. I will be happy when my whole place is better organized, so I totally understand. Thanks for the comment!

Janine Huldie - I've had piles of plastic bags myself. For that matter, I do still have some in my bathroom cabinet to use in my bathroom trash. I just tend to hoard the reusable bags, too. Thanks so much for reading and sharing!


everymom profile image

everymom 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Yes, I need to re-organize my abode again as well...I've hit a critical mass where it just looks like I'm a hoarder (I'm a teacher...same difference!) and I have to make excuses for not letting other people into my apartment. Not a good scene, I can tell you. My last reusable bag purchase? A great lightweight backpack from Old Sturbridge Village (supporting a great, historical non-profit...what better reason to buy another reusable bag?!) in Massachusetts, but this one folds down into a kerchief-sized thing that I can easily slip into my pocketbook (a reusable bag in itself, but with a designer label) so that I always have a bag with me (for impromptu shopping) and NEVER HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER REUSABLE BAG! Yay! If I can stave off the impulse, my addiction will be controlled!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Wow, that sounds like a really cool bag. I want one just like it... it is a good thing I haven't seen one like it in Maryland. Hehe. Thanks for sharing!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I never wanted to spend the money on the reusable bags, even though they are inexpensive. But someone gave me some gifts in three reusable bags and I am hooked. I have a very large one with beautiful print on it, a medium and small size in plain colors. I use them for everything, not just groceries. It's been almost as exciting as when my teenage son taught me how to text (which I hate doing now).


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

jeannie...Your hub has worn me down....I'm here to confess. My name is Paula and I'm a reusable bag addict. I've been stockpiling reusable bags for 3 years now, and I've tried everything I know to quit, but I'm powerless over it.

I've thrown out perfectly good items, just to make room in my closets for the amount of bags I collect. I've even started hiding them from my family. My husband found a stash and confronted me. I lied to him and told him I had no idea where they came from.

I've been to rehab twice. I was asked to leave the first time after being caught, dumping the trash out of all the trash cans and stealing the bags. The second time, while being patted down upon entry, they discovered I had duct taped my entire body with my reusable bags from home...and they confiscated them. I went berserk and had to be sedated and sent to the clinic for detox. I don't know what to do next. I need help. That's why I'm here.....Can we say the Serenity Prayer please?


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Jeannie -

Very interesting hub! Loved the humor. My wife has a true love for grocery store plastic... bags, not credit cards. I open the door to the closet and they come tumbling out. I cleaned the closet late last Spring and I think the few I saved for trash bags had passion filled evenings and reproduced, as they're overflowing again. If I were to get her a reusable, I'm afraid they too would reproduce. Perhaps she's innocent and the closet is haunted! Probably not. Great ideas! Voted up/useful/interesting!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

lambservant - A-ha! That is how the addiction starts. Those bags really do work well with everything. Thanks for the comment!

fpherj48 - You know, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. It sounds like you are on your way to success. You will be breaking that addiction in no time! :-) Thanks for your comment!

rcrumple - I know what you mean. No one can just throw out plastic bags. You have to save them! ;-) Thanks for the votes and thanks for the comment!


Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

I have like a ton of these bags but keep FORGETTING them every time I go to the store... LOL! So have these bags and the plastic ones :0/ I do like to have some plastic ones around for trash bags and craft projects.. but would be nice if I could remember the other ones sometimes. As always.. your hub is super funny! Voting up and useful, awesome :)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I think that is how the addiction begins. If you keep forgetting to take the bags, you probably keep buying more. I do the same thing! Thanks for your comment! :-)


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I have reusable bags from different events and use those a lot but I don't buy the ones they sell in Wal-Mart and Target. I think I will try to see how I like them but I feel I do a good job of reusing plastic bags for trash cans at home.

This hub serves as a reminder that you can get addicted to anything!


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

I am in the clear because I have never bought a bag to match my shirt. lol.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Alecia - Having free reusable bags is probably the best way to go. I usually buy my bags while in line at the grocery store. That is when the impulse really gets me. I had to fight the urge to get a new one just the other day. Sigh. Thanks for your comment!

rasta1 - That is good. That is when I knew I had sank to a new low. I still find I try to match my outfit with whatever bag I am using that day. It is a little sad. Thank you for checking out my hub!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

My daughters have collected so MANY reusable bags. They are more green than me. I have a lot to learn from my offspring and obviously this hub! :)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Just remember, a few reusable bags help the environment. Twenty reusable bags is not helping anyone or the environment. :-) Thanks for checking out my hub!

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