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If the grocery stores no longer had ANY bags .....

16 years ago

I think all of the grocery stores should stop having bags available. Costco does not have any bags AT ALL. They are always crowded with shoppers. Yes Costco does occasionally have cardboard boxes to put your items in but at the one I shop there are hardly ever any boxes available.

What happens when someone who does not have a bag goes to buy groceries?? They have to buy a bag. Not 5 cents or 10 cents but one full dollar PER bag. I know there are poor folks around who may not be able to afford bags but there could be a borrow-a-bag program where they pay a deposit for the cloth bag and when they come back to shop again they bring the bag back and get their money back. It would work if ALL grocery stores did it. The deposit would need to be minimum one dollar - dollars get people to pay attention. When I was a wee lass if you wanted milk you had to pay for the bottle. All milk came in bottles and poor folks did buy milk AND they did return the bottles for those deposits.

This bag 'mess' that we have now can be easily fixed. My son was in Germany and France - he told me that grocery bags like we have here in US are a RARE sight over there.


Comments (29)

  • 16 years ago

    That's a good idea and I for one would love to see it happen. Just to cut back on grocery bags caught in trees, on cars, and littering our country would be a giant bonus.

    I always feel like such a jerk when I wave my finger at a cashier who just bagged my one CD or a gallon of milk. What a waste, even for the store. It's money bleeding out of their pockets.

    I know, I know... you're the choir.

  • 16 years ago

    I have a different point of view....Yes, I own and use reusable bags, but I often think that this is a cultural issue.

    I have noticed that here in the south, we bag everything whether it needs it or not. I think that their is a mind set of having a bag as proof that you paid for an item. I think especially for lower income folks, who are often looked down upon by shopkeepers or are accused of stealing, having a bag gives them a sense of security. I know that they should have a receipt, but which is easier to see a little slip of paper or a huge plastic bag?

    I know my mother always wants to make sure she has a bag from whichever store she purchased something the item from in case she needs to return it. Why she has bags of bags stuffed in her junk room, I have no idea...but that is another story.

    When you consider that most of the cashiers are low-income workers, you can see that they are bagging that CD for your safety at least in their mind. If you stuff the cd in your purse of carry it out of the store, someone might stop you and question you.

    I have noticed lately that our local Wal-Mart greeters always stop me if I have one object in my basket that isn't bagged...2 examples, I bought a plastic storage box that wouldn't fit in a bag, I got stopped. Another time, I took my daughter's handmade quilt in, because she was napping when we went into the store. She was awake when we left the store, so she wasn't sleeping on the quilt...we got stopped and given the third degree. I explained that it was hers and that they didn't even sell those. The woman got upset and said, "How am I supposed to know what we sell?"

    Besides that, I wonder how many managers or other customers have chewed them out for not bagging things.

    Until we change the culture and mindset of the poor, we won't win this bag battle. Today, I ran into the local grocery for a bag of powdered sugar. The cashier bagged it! I told her that I didn't need a bag for one bag of powdered sugar. She looked at me and said, "I bag everything." And handed me the bag. My southern nature won't let me argue. I took the bag and will reuse it for something else.

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  • 16 years ago

    I do that practically everyday at my corner grocery. I insist that I don't need a bag for my milk or bread!!!

    If I feel that I'll be accused of stealing, I make sure I take my recipt with me.

    And of course I assume the cashier would remember that crazy lady who refused to have her milk bagged!

    BTW: Has anyone ever SEEN someone acually USING those black shopping bags at walmart????
    Me personally......NEVER.

    Why not just drop the plastic bags and have folks bring in their own or buy the reusable black bag.
    It works at Aldi's, where they sell a tougher plastic bag for .15cts.

  • 16 years ago

    I have seen WalMart sell the bags but I have never seen anyone using them. The checkout clerks in the WalMart stores where I shop all know that I have my own bags. My bags are from other stores like Kroger. I got several of the Kroger insulated bags when they had them on special for 99 cents. I had to get in the 'groove' of remembering to take the bags with me and my solution is to put them in my car trunk as soon as I unpack my stuff. That way they are in the car when I next go in any store.


  • 16 years ago

    I use those walmart black bags! The checkout associates don't seem impressed, but I am free of plastic and loving it!

  • 16 years ago

    I am happy to say that today, **Finally** I remembered to put my cloth bags in my car. I made three stops, and not one of them looked at me like I have an extra head.

    A few months ago I was in a big-box home improvement store for one item. I was not quite quick enough saying not to bag it, and she did anyway. When I repeated that I didn't need a bag, she took my item out and put the bag in the trash can. Grrr, at least I would have taken it home and recycled it!

  • 16 years ago

    I have been using the bags my local grocery has here for 99 cents each (same as the ones Target has, except Target charges like 2 bucks!) and my father in law gave me one of those Home Depot nylon bags described elsewhere, which is awesome! So compressible and portable. And expands to be huge! Great for bulky items like cereal boxes.
    It really feels great to not use all those plastic bags. becomes sort of an obsession. Just have a bag with you (easier for ladies, I admit) and snatch the item as soon as they scan it and stash it in the bag with the receipt. Make a cute remark about helping save the planet or whatever, and it is usually smooth. I am glad more stores (even Borders) have started selling their own bags, so presumably the clerks will be more familiar with the practice. Plus the reusable bags are so much more durable and easier on your hands-- no more paranoia that the bags will break as you are shuttling things in the house.
    It will change your life, trust me.

  • 16 years ago

    I am all for not using plastic bags at the grocery store. On a recent trip to Michigan I went to a discount store and purchased some small canvas bags, and have used them but still do not have enough. I am really looking for bigger bags that are really durable. I have one question I do use the platic bags for trash now around the house in small trash cans. I wondering does anyone have any ideas where I can eliminate the need for bags in these trash recepticles. My idea is to just empty the trash into the big can outside. the real goal is to lighten the total trash signature that we have in our household. Just trying to make one step at a time.

  • 16 years ago

    My garbage collection company requires that we bag all trash we put into our collection barrels. For the question about using small bags in small trash cans, you can empty the small bag and reuse it in the trash can again.

    I carry a couple of large shopping bags in my car. I often purchase more than they can hold. I have eight dogs and two cats. I use plastic grocery bags to bag their droppings. I don't bury animal waste because it could possibly be an issue regarding contamination of ground water. My well water comes from an aquifer.

    Several of my friends use plastic grocery bags as packing material, when they mail Christmas and birthday packages. I use the bags for longterm storage of items, such as Christmas decorations. The bags provide cushioning and keep the dust off.


  • 16 years ago

    I was happy to discover that our local Lowes Foods store actually rewards customers for bringing bags. They will add 50 points to your shopper rewards card for each bag you bring in. It doesn't matter if it's cloth or plastic, just each bag that you reuse. And this info is posted right on the front door, so I was reminded to trot back to the car for my cloth bags.

  • 16 years ago

    I have several cloth bags that I use for groceries and the like. I now live in Texas, and like someone else said, the need to bag everything, and not recycle seems to be stronger here than anywhere else I've lived (10 states).
    Some of my bags are from stores in different areas, and some have various reminders of events in my life.
    I got groceries at WalMart this last week and the cashier said, I need to tell them how many people are using these bags now, maybe when they do our remodel they will make a spot to put them so its easier to fill, its a pain in the butt this way. (I used to work there so she felt free to really say what she felt!) I told her that was a good idea.

    Dad had a small country store when I was growing up, we had paper bags, and boxes for big orders, (later we had plastic, but used those sparingly)if someone got something small like a loaf of bread we'd ask

  • 16 years ago

    Today I was behind a woman at the till of a department store. The cashier didn't offer her a bag and then, realising the customer was obviously waiting for one, apologised and said 'Sorry, so many people have those cotton bags now, I forgot.' I was cheered up hugely by this sign of the times!

  • 16 years ago

    this plastic bag issue is a bit of a conundrum for me. I read the other day that here in oz, only 6% of plastic shopping bags are recycled/reused for another purpose. the trouble is I'm one of those people who reuses them for a lot of things. when I get home from shopping I pack the vegetables in the plastic bags because they store better in the fridge, after that they get used as bins in the kitchen and for collecting food scraps for the compost.

    There is a lot of talk here about getting rid of the bags completely from shops, but when that happens I'll just have to buy plastic bags to use instead so instead of recycling the shopping bags, I'll just be buying new bags and I think a lot of people will find themselves doing the same.

    I agree that anyone who doesnt re-use the bags should use cloth bags instead at the shops, it's silly to use something to bring the shopping home and then throw it away, but people who already recycle them are going to have to find other bags to use.

    Another point that has been raised over here in the debate, is that the amount of plastic bottles (coca cola bottles etc) in the waste stream is far greater than plastic bags so should we be so focussed on the plastic bag issue when the bottles are a much greater problem? If they introduced a deposit on plastic soft drink bottles which they used to have when the bottles were glass, the recovery rate would be much higher and make a much bigger difference to the amount of plastic going to land fill.

  • 16 years ago

    I just finished crocheting 2 shopping bags out of all those walmart bags. I took one shopping with me today, I told the cashier "I don't need any bags" we had a nice little conversation about how cool my crocheted bag was and then she handed me my 3 little items in another bag!!
    (I gave it back/she used it for the next order)
    In Canada we've had a deposit on plastic pop bottles for years, I was shocked when I went to Mexico a few years ago at the amount of bottles,cans and garbage that was piled up in alleys everywhere. DH and I were joking about taking all those bottles back to Canada for the deposit (you'd be rich!) so I took a closer look at the pop bottles and they all say "no deposit no return" on them. What a waste!

  • 16 years ago

    I went to my local grocery store the other day, and when the cashier asked "paper or plastic? " I told her I had my own bags... she said "Oh! Well hold on a minute, then." and she took some of the cost off the total purchase... do you think it's just that particular store, or do other stores charge a tax or surcharge for using their bags?

    I was excited, because now I've found a way to save even more money... even if it is just a few cents.

    I'm just getting started with the whole "going green" thing, and I still have a lot to learn... are aluminum cans better than plastic bottles? I always thought they were... and they're also cheaper. The same amount of V8 juice at Walmart is more expensive in the bottle than in the can. But I was there the other day, and they told me that they've stopped selling V8 in the can...(!?!) I'm just still getting over my irritation.

  • 16 years ago

    I've never had a problem using my cloth bags at Walmart. I saw on the news here (Dallas/ Fort Worth) that one city is trying to get an ordinance to outlaw plastic bags in the stores (well, I don't remember if it was an ordinance or the word outlaw was used, but the point was to not have or use plastic bags in that city).

  • 16 years ago

    Austin is trying to do that. There was a petition at the Earth Fair a couple weeks ago.

    I am getting better at remembering to bring my bags to the car then in to the store. I'm still working on remembering to hand them to the cashier/bagger. Between loading the groceries, keeping my kids in line and paying it slips my mind then I get mad at myself. If they were more used to the reusable bags and asked or noticed them in my cart it would help.

  • 16 years ago

    Do you "crossover" with bags, meaning, do you take bags with one store's logo on them into another store? Several local stores offer reusable cloth bags but they have the logo on them. I suppose it's another way to get the customers to pay for their advertising but it irritates me. I've got a couple of reusable bags without logos but don't especially like them. They're just not as sturdy as a good paper bag (which one store will let you reuse and gives a rebate per bag.)

  • 16 years ago

    Sure, I take my bags with one logo into other stores. At first, I figured if the second store didn't like it, they could get their own reusuable bags, lol. And the good thing is, they did! But I still bring my bags into other stores. I don't think about the logo. I'm just glad to be avoiding the use of plastic bags.


  • 16 years ago

    I work in a grocery store, and more and more people are bringing their own bags, which actually keeps costs down. We don't make but may 3 cents on the .99 cloth bags, so don't think we're getting rich off of them. It's more a cost cutting method to us, because the price of all things plastic has skyrocketed since oil got so expensive. Most people forget that plastic is a petroleum product.

    So besides being good for the environment, reusable bags make us less dependent on foreign oil and keep your grocery prices down.

    I saw some really cute bags made out of old jeans the other day. Making these bags is a regular cottage craft industry now. I know someone who buys old jeans from Goodwill in bulk and makes and sells all sorts of bags from them.

  • 16 years ago

    "In Canada we've had a deposit on plastic pop bottles for years"

    we have one state in oz that does that and aparently they have a very high recovery rate on plastic bottles, none of the other states here do it though. Obviously the law makers in Canada have a lot more sense than ours do. ;)

  • 15 years ago

    I live in the Dallas area, when I was in a local grocery yesterday the cashier told me that the HEB, Wal Mart, and Minyards stores here will all go to having few available plastic bags by the end of the year. She also said that the cost of the bags they now sell for 99 cents will go up, so if you live in the DFW area you may want to stock up on some bags now. I have used my fabric bags for year so have several, but at 99 cents I have said "Darn, forgot the bag, just add this one to my bill" on those occasions I've had to stop on the way to work to get something.

  • 15 years ago

    It has been discussed before, but I've had difficulty finding a solution to the issue of bagging household trash without plastic grocery bags. I've been using cloth for a few years already, and, apart from the odd "donation" from relatives and product packaging, have FINALLY used up the stockpile of plastic accumulated for this purpose. The corn-based bags seem like a good idea, especially for larger trash cans, but they're fairly expensive. Are there other resolutions to this? For that matter, is biodegradable plastic sufficient for holding, say, raw eggs or meat?

    By the way, a cashier at Stop & Shop just informed me that they would be returning five cents to grocery bills if the customer brings his/her own bags. I live in a very socially-conscious town, so this was a nice perk for most of us. However, I don't know if the return was a single-store decision or if it's chain-wide.

  • 15 years ago

    I use the black Walmart bags. I love them!

    I also use them at my local grocery store where they give you a credit of 5 cents per bag. Last time I went there though, the lady bagged my groceries in a plastic bag and set the plastic bag inside the cloth bag.

    I told her that the whole point of the cloth bags is so people don't have to use plastic and made her re-bag it.

    That may have been a little harsh of me to do, but I doubt she'll ever do it again.

  • 15 years ago

    Here in Montreal, over the last year, there has been a seachange from disposable to reusable bags in grocery stores. One store started providing high quality cloth (or plastic-impregnated strong paper) reusable bags for a dollar. The bags were so gosh-darned useful that people started buying them and using them not just for groceries, but for carrying stuff all over the place, advertising the name of the store as they went. The other stores quickly got involved, and started competing to make more and more attractive ones, so it was their bag that was being carried, not the competition. The plastic bags are still available for people that want them, but carrying one makes you a pariah on the street.

    This time last year, you would see hundreds of those bags stuck in trees and streetlights, breaking down in alleys and filling trash cans. Not any more - the combination of real utility (the bags are actually very good - I use them to carry things to work, for luggage, in the garden, lugging tools in my workshop, and for storage when homebrewing), low cost (the bags are printed with the store's name, so it's free advertising) and social stigma seems to have corrected this problem in a very big way.

    One unexpected problem that has arisen is that I used to use those plastic bags as trash bags. Now, I find myself buying real plastic trash bags, which is a habit I have to break.

  • 15 years ago

    I work in a floral dept and we get our flowers in boxes, lined with large clear plastic bags..about 50 of them a week..I've started taking them home and crochet purses, rugs, lg shopping bags, etc. I figure if I use them in this manner, they will be getting put to a good use! I also do the same with plastic bags from the store..I use several of the crocheted lg bags for the shopping trips..we shop a lot at Sam's and need them there :0)I have friends and family giving me thier plastic grocery bags also...
    Here is a link to a site for those that crochet to use up those bags!
    As for small trash cans, I use paper bags to line least they're biodegradeable(?)

    Here is a link that might be useful: My Recycled Bags

  • 15 years ago

    world market will stop the use of all bags
    as of Jan 1st YEA! I work as a part time cashier
    and will not give out bags,so my employer as now
    put a sign at my regiester(NO BAGS THIS IS A GREEN LINE)
    I usauly have more folks in my line then the others.



  • 15 years ago

    Gardenlady - your bags are the coolest thing ever! Now if only I remembered how to crochet....

  • 15 years ago

    I wish that site were mine, but it is not...just happens the name is MY Recycled Bags..she does wonderful work though and I have used her patterns to make many a purse/bag, which take 25 to 30 plastic grocery bags, a lot of bags never hit the dump site:0)

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