Back in the late 80s, we were living in Washington Heights, NY. We didn’t even own a car, so we certainly didn’t do any car shopping. Once we had our son, Julian, we used his baby carriage as a shopping cart and wrapped all the plastic bags around the handles. We lined our trash cans with the bags, but still had tons of leftovers. Sharon had remembered how people in Europe just naturally brought their own string bags. We looked for them in the U.S., but when they were nowhere to be found, Sharon realized this could be a great business; something we could believe in and served an obvious need. We coined the term ECO-BAGS (and now own the trademark) and began designing and manufacturing.

Fast forward to today: Do we religiously use our ECO-BAGS® Brand bags? Answer: Almost always.

We put a bunch of canvas bags into one bag and throw them in the car. That way, when we’re out and have a spontaneous shopping spree, they’re already there. When we come inside and unload, the bags all get put together again and hang on a hook. Next time we go out, we throw them back in the car.

Using four or five canvas bags stuffed to the gills instead of thirty plastic ones is so much easier.

However, the answer was “Almost always.” Sometimes we haven’t gotten the bags back in the car. I’ve been known to balance several items in my arms in order to avoid getting a bag, but there are always times when you just have to use one! This actually works out when we shop at the supermarket, because we bring our pile of plastic bags as well, and use them instead of using new plastic produce bags.

We do sell produce bags, and some people swear by them. Now that we’ve added the TARE weight to them (so the clerk can adjust the scale) I don’t worry about paying more if the produce is expensive. Once home, I transfer our produce into recycled plastic bags, to keep the air from drying the veggies out.

Of course, it’s frustrating to try to prevent plastic bag waste, but then create other waste with the packages in the bag! We try to buy minimally packaged goods as much as possible, but again, there are times when you just have to have that tasty dish that comes in a package that can’t be recycled. (read: ice cream)

Someone once said you have to “Choose your level of virtue”. We try to make informed choices but avoid dogmatic zeal.

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