The Benefits of Reusable Grocery Bags
By Joan Whetzel
I’m sure you’ve seen them at the grocery store, those re-usable fabric bags with handles. Many grocery stores sell them as do many super stores like Target and Wal-Mart. They can also be ordered in bulk, online. The idea is to bring the bags with you every time you shop. You may be wondering if they are really worth the cost or the trouble of carrying them around with you. There are some benefits for using these bags.
- If everyone used these bags every time they went to the grocery store, the stores would need to keep far fewer supplies of paper and plastic bags on hand. This would translate into money savings for the stores, which they would then be able to pass onto customers.
- Using reusable bags means there are less plastic or paper bags to fill up the landfills. This, in itself, is a major plus for the environment.
- Plastic bags don't carry much food, which means you end up with far more bags than you need – or want. It also means you have to carry more bags into the house, and make more trips between the car and the house.
- Paper bags these days are thinner than they used to be so they tear easily. How many times have you had a paper grocery bag rip and dump your food all over the ground? The cloth reusable bags won’t do that because they are quite sturdy.
- The reusable bags can be used for other things besides groceries. I use them for carrying picnic supplies like paper plates and grilling supplies; packing them with games and other things when travelling; taking towels and sandals and the like when going to the beach or playground; and carrying books home from the bookstore or to and from the library.
- Rather than packing a suitcase for kids spending the night with friends, use these reusable bags to pack what they need for the night.
- Reusable bags fold up and can be tucked away on a shelf or in a drawer, so they take up little space between uses.
- They are washable. So if any of your food leaks, they can be easily be cleaned in washer and dryer.
- They can be bought in bulk (10 or 20 count), which costs less than buying them individually.
- They are durable. They don't tear easily. In fact, you’d have to work pretty hard to rip them up. They can be repaired as well. I’ve had a few that started to pull apart at the seams. They can be sewn up again with a sewing machine or by hand to make them last even longer.
Some people have mentioned to me that they forget to bring their bags with them to the grocery store, or that they don't think it's worth the trouble since they only have a few bags. It is always worth bringing those bags, even if it's only a few. Saving the store a few cents every visit still benefits your pocket book in the end. It also means you're throwing away a few less bags each week - benefitting the environment. As for remembering to bring them along, well, it might take a few weeks of concerted effort, as well as keeping them in the same convenient location so you can grab them on your way out the door. After a while, it becomes a habit.