While Seattleites squabble over whether to impose a fee on disposable bags, we offer up alternatives for lugging your goods home from the store (and ideas for what to do with the plastic bags you’ve already accumulated).
Fantastic plastic alternatives
For smaller items:
- With Cap-sac, the neon fanny pack for your head, conservation will always be on your mind.
- The fanny pack is a convenient classic.
- Speaking of classics, don’t forget cargo pants: no longer just for soldiers or sketchy teenage boys.
- ‘Roos are also handy for carting home your smallest items. I had a pair of purple ones in ninth grade, and everyone thought they were filthy (in the good way).
For serious groceries:
- ChicoBags can be stuffed into a tiny sack that fits in your pocket and then filled with up to 25 lbs of groceries. They’re only $5 and come in an array of cheerful colors.
- Reuse those sturdy paper bags with nice rope handles that you get from swank boutiques and department stores.
- Jute bags apparently experienced a resurgence in Bangladesh after that country banned plastic bags. Jute, or burlap to us Westerners, is a cheap, durable, biodegradable fiber that’s produced primarily on the Indian subcontinent.
- If carrying bags makes your arms tired, use a wheelie backpack and roll your groceries along behind you.
- Make recession living chic and bring back the bindle, that bag-on-a-stick favored by hobos in the 1930s.
For carrying your sack lunch: Remember that bitchin’ tin lunch box you toted to first grade every day? When did that stop being cool again?
Uses for the plastic bags you already have sitting around
If you’re like me, you save any plastic bag you acquire in a valiant effort to mitigate its harmful effects by reusing it as many times as possible, only to end up with a growing pile of plastic bags that you don’t know what to do with.
Luckily there’s already an informative list out there of creative uses for plastic bags. Number 1 — “make a purse out of them by sewing a bunch of them together” — is actually completely possible. My grandma used to crochet reusable tote bags out of strips of old plastic bags. I carried my stuff to swim practice in one every day — not only was it durable and a little stretchy, the crocheted plastic made it ideal for a dripping bathing suit.
The list also suggests using plastic bags as mattress or pillow stuffing, packing materials (instead of foam peanuts), rubber gloves if you don’t have the real thing, or “a solid white one tied onto a pole as a truce flag.” (You never know when you might need to declare peace.) Oh, and regarding suggestion #47 — please, only in an extreme emergency.