Reusable Totes

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In honor of my upcoming Earth Day Birthday (April 22nd – T minus two hours!), I am making another eco-conscious post. This time, it’s about bringing your own reusable bags while shopping.

What’s really gotten me thinking about these totes, besides the fact that I just started using them regularly in the last few months, is that they’re popping up everywhere. On a shopping trip last week with my sister, I had not one, but two, thrown at me on my way out of Old Navy. You’ll hopefully experience the same if you have an ON card and get in there before April 30th. You can also buy one for $2 (overpriced, in my opinion – try to swing getting one for free!).

The point is, branded reusable bags aren’t just for grocery stores anymore – all sorts of different businesses are coming out with their own in the name of eco-friendliness. I’ve seen advertisements for places like Walmart, Target, Payless and Kohls hawking their own brand of reusable bags. (Have you noticed them somewhere that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments!)

In fact, some businesses that have been selling similar totes for years are now encouraging their customers to use them while shopping. Remember all those Bliss Blue Totes you got from ordering that ridiculously expensive Lemon + Sage Body Butter that you love, over and over again? Now you finally have something to do with them! 

And obviously, most grocery stores have (smartly) caught on to the eco-friendly trend and now sell their own brand of cheap, sturdy, reusable bags as well. Regardless of where you end up getting them, most of these bags range in price from $0.99 to $5 and come in a materials like plastic, cloth, canvas, jute and more.

As with menstrual cups, there are great reasons to start using reusable bags, even if you’re not a tree-hugging environmentalist. My favorite thing about the grocery store variety of these totes is that they’re huge. One bag can hold what about 4 or 5 plastic bags can. A whole cart of groceries can be taken care of in 5 or 6 of these reusable bags. Who cares about the environment? I care about having to run from my car to my kitchen less when I’m hauling groceries in during a downpour!

And if you couldn’t guess, these bags are great for other things besides groceries. You can use one as an everyday carry-all tote, store your yarn collection in another, or even lug your books and magazines in one while traveling (what, you haven’t ponied up $400 for a Kindle, yet?).

Many of these bags are also really durable and sturdy. Contrary to a plastic (or even a paper) bag, these things stay open and keep their shape, making them very easy to load whatever you decide to put in them. A lot of them also have a thicker plastic insert in the bottom to help them stay open and stay put – rather than flopping over and spilling their contents all over the floor or the trunk of your car.

If you’ve been able to make the adjustment of bringing your own bags to the grocery store, why not try it everywhere you shop? If Old Navy will sell you a reusable bag (or even better, give you one for free) that can hold all those $5 shirts you’re buying and will stop you from throwing another plastic bag in the trash (“Old Navy plastic bags are recyclable?”), bring it every time you go.

In fact, leave it in your car, and use it at any store you happen to run in to. You’ll stop feeding that growing plastic bag mountain under your sink (admit it, you maybe reuse three of those things a month) and you’ll have more cute tote bags to store all the things you don’t need that you’ve been hoarding since high school.

And while we’re being eco-conscious, stop throwing your burned out vibrators and dusty old dildos into landfills – send them to the Sex Toy Recycling Program. They’ll even send you a $10 gift card to use at one of their affiliate companies when you do (hint: one of their affiliates is!

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