Sometimes I feel like I’m addicted to bags. Probably related to my affinity for all things storage (that I never use), but I love to collect reusable bags. Something about the possibility it holds is enamoring. Bags, which I stash in the closet, and never see the light of day. This is a problem.
Unfortunately, if I really stop to think about all those bags, the environmental impact of each one is much higher than a simple plastic sack. The manufacturing, the shipping… yikes! Studies have shown that reusable bag has a higher — much higher — footprint than those flimsy grocery sacks.
The idea of reusable bags is that they actually get reused. But the number of times they must be reused can be quite high before the carbon footprint actually equals out. And at least for me, it never fails that when I need them (grocery shopping is the biggest culprit!) I do not have one handy. I am absent minded. And sometimes you just don’t know when you’re going to need a bag.
My solution: this bag from Ikea (neither an affiliate link nor an endorsement). My parents surprised me with two of them about a year ago and I am pleased to report that my success rate with using reusable has improved dramatically. They cost 99¢, are very lightweight, and have their own stuff-pouches that let them pack down where I can fit them easily in my small-ish purse and have them handy at all times. I’ve used them at Wal-Mart. I’ve used them at work. I’ve used them so much we’ve actually run out of plastic bags at our house a few times. I don’t know about you, but around here that is an amazing feat.
I’m sure there are more eco-friendly options out there. I don’t know about the bags’ carbon footprint, or Ikea’s, or whether they were made with slave labor or unethical sourcing practices. Please leave your alternate suggestions in the comments! I do know sometimes I let not having the “perfect” solution keep me from finding a better solution. These little bags are my better solution for the moment.
What about you? Do you have a growing collection of reusable bags you don’t use? How do you remember to take and use your reusable bags? What is your go-to bag?