There are 1 trillion plastic bags used around the world each year. Worse, each bag takes up to 1,000 years to degrade. Yikes! Lend the earth a helping hand by purchasing a few reusable grocery bags and toting them to your weekly trip to the store. Not only does this help the earth, it can save you some money, too!
Purchase your bags. Reusable grocery bags typically cost $1-$3 and are available at most grocery stores or online. The bags can come in a variety of fun designs and colors and can be made of natural fibers like cotton or synthetic fibers like polypropylene and nylon. We suggest that you opt for a cotton tote because they’re sturdy and generally the easiest to disinfect – just throw it into the washing machine and run a hot water cycle (double check the tag on your bag to make sure this is okay). Tip: If you’re interested in supporting a good charity, consider purchasing a FEED bag for $45 – each bag provides meals for 100 school children!
Designate bags for specific uses. To prevent the spread of foodborne illness, use multiple bags. Designate one bag for meats like chicken, beef or fish and another bag for fruits and veggies. Optional: Make it easy for your grocer by placing a “veggies” or “meats” tag on the handle of each bag. If you want to do all of your shopping with reusable bags, make sure you keep grocery and retail bags separate from each other!
Look for incentives. Many grocery stores like Whole Foods Market offer cash back on your purchase for every reusable bag you bring in and use. It may not make you rich, but it’s a great incentive for you to remember your bags!
Disinfect your bags regularly. Studies show that over 90 percent of reusable bag owners don’t wash them regularly. This could put your food in contact with harmful bacteria like E. coli, so make a point to wash your bags every week or so. For details, read: Clean Your Reusable Bags.