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Reusing Bags: One Consumer's Experience

Updated on January 23, 2009

In the Wall Street Journal article "An Inconvenient Bag" (Sept. 26, 2008), one reusable bag manufacturer estimates that about 10% of shoppers actually bring back their bags on subsequent trips to the store. So where do all these reusable bags go?

Climbing Cat canvas bag from author's artwork
Climbing Cat canvas bag from author's artwork

The fate of plastic bags

Any plastic bags around my house immediately become the property of the cats. Yes, that's right, the feline inhabitants of my house love plastic shopping bags. One cat chews on the handles if she finds any lying around, another likes to sit on the bag. The best use the cats have found for the bags is carrying out the waste from their litterbox. When I get the plastic bag to scoop the box, I often have three or four furry bodies following me to watch the procedure, then they proceed out with me to watch their waste be put into the trash can on the porch.

Rori's bag

The reusable bags don't escape the cats' scrutiny, either. In fact, Rori (our plastic-chewing cat) has adopted one bag as her own. The handles show signs of her love and grooming (and sometimes biting). There is a quarter-sized hole in the bottom from when she was teething as a kitten. She makes a nest on top of it and goes to sleep. If I decide to move it or wash it, she pouts, then grooms it when it comes back again.

Sara in her bag
Sara in her bag

The fate of paper bags

Any paper bags lying around my house get taken over by a cat as well. Sara, our 18-year-old senior cat, has decided they make good hideaways. When she leaves her spot, one of the other cats goes to investigate and take a nap in the bag as well.

Reusable bags

I like the cloth, canvas, and woven plastic bags for catch-all totes. One is my work bag, carrying a binder, paper, books, and other essentials. Another holds my dance cd's and lesson plans. Still another is used for a junk mail recycle bag until trash day when it is emptied.

The remainder of my reusable bags are hidden in a cupboard away from the cats. When I do remember to grab one on the way to a shopping expedition, it gets used for my purchases. Then, into the cupboard it goes again, unless the cats get to it first!

What do you reuse bags for?

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