We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow the earth from our
-Native American Proverb
We have been treating the Earth like we don't live on it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Green Saves Green-BYOB

Good Day! October is a great month to review what is green that saves you green, money that is. The weather is changing and the stock market is looking pretty bad so let's see what we can do to not only save money but the environment as well.

Robin has started off our journey with a great green term, stewardship. Her post today rings true for all of us in that we need to take care of our earth and our money.

With that in mind I am going to talk about my favorite way to save money and the environment. Back in April 2008 (yes, barely this year) I was tooling around the internet and discovering all these nifty ways to be green. I was amazed at how much more I could do besides just recycle and throw trash in the garbage. Thus I started my new quest in life to be as green as possible to myself and my environment. I started reading bloggers like Life Less Plastic and Fake Plastic Fish and these women inspired me to review my plastic usage. One simple way to curb the use of plastic was to BYOB. No, not your own beer! Your own BAG!

I had been practicing this concept for many years before I read about this with some very sturdy canvas bags I bought for 20 cents when Montgomery Ward went out of business. But I would only use them when I would remember (almost never) or when it was convenient for me (not embarrassing). So I decided to make it convenient and not embarrassing and left them in my car all the time.

Soon it was a no brainer. Safeway, Target, Trader Joes, Goodwill, Farmer's Market, wherever I shop I take my bags. Since then I have expanded my bag army to include ones that fit in my purse (above), Trader Joe bags and my favorite "Plastic Bags Blow" bag (below). Not only that but the kids get reusable lunch bags and I buy the best purse so I only need one for years (there are purses made of seat belts now, awesome!). I have actually had the clerk take my food out of the plastic bag and use mine. So what, he should have listened when I said, " I have my own bags." And the clerk at Kohl's gave me the funniest look when I handed her my bag. But I bet I was the topic of conversation with her friends that day. The word gets out in any way. I have gotten to the point where I don't like the feel of plastic anything-bags, cups etc.

Why should you take your own bag? Duh!? Because plastic bags kill animals. They pollute. They are toxic when breaking down. They are ugly. They produce toxins when made. You can read a little at ReusableBags.com (and buy a bag while you're there.)

So how do plastic bags save you green? One, many grocery stores will give you 3-5 cents back per bag you use. Not much, I know. Two, is an indirect answer. Retailers have to buy those plastic bags that everyone uses. They just pass the cost to you. If everyone started to bring their own bags that cost could be minimized. BYOB saves in clean up costs around the world. And it saves in animals lives. Not to mention, to clean up the animals is not free either. Many times saving animals is run by volunteers but where do they get the tools to clean the animals? They have to buy them or they are donated, both cost money. So you may not see the savings directly in your pocket book but you will see it in a more beautiful world.

P.S. While you are shopping for that perfect bag, look for recycled and organic materials made where labor laws are good and local.
(I do not get any money from ReusableBags.com, I just like them.)


Allie said...

Leaving the bags in the car is really the way to go. It's the only way I can guarantee I won't forget.

Beth said...

Great post!! It's nearly 2nd nature for me to bring them along and I do keep them in my car when I remember to put them back in there after unloading them. There have been times I've forgotten to bring them and I'm just racked with guilt! :) Too bad there isn't a confessional for the "green" sinner! Heeehee!

Mama said...

Great post, I just got a funny look at Target today when I gave her my bag. So interesting how when the system changes, sometimes the cashier doesn't know what to do first! They should have trainings:)

Green & Clean Mom said...

Thanks for this great post. I love my reusable bags but like @mama, I get weird looks.

Liz said...

I save all my plastic bags (I prefer paper, but not all stores offer them) and keep forgetting to take them back to the store. I need a better system...

I completely agree about little things helping a lot. Take a look at Green Goes with Everything, a fantastic new book about green living and healthy living. It's all about the many products we bring into our homes every day -- and how they're toxic. The author also gives healthier alternatives. This book REALLY drives home the point that it IS the little things that add up to big change.