I’ve seen many stores selling those environment-friendly reusable shopping bags made of cloth or thick plastic, but I’ve seen very few people buying them, and even fewer people actually using them. I think bringing your own shopping bag is a great idea.
Most of the shopping bags are used for no more than 5 minutes. They hold stuff already in their own packaging. We take them to our car. Then we take them from our car to our home. That’s it. Some of these bags are recycled. That’s good, but it will be better if fewer of these are produced in the first place. The 3 R’s in waste reduction are “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” I think we put too much emphasis on Recycle and too little on Reduce and Reuse.
I’m glad to see some stores encouraging the practice of bringing your own shopping bags. I went to a grocery store the other day and brought with me a paper bag I saved from the previous trip. I got a 5-cent credit on my receipt. Five cents is nothing. If I buy groceries once a week, I will save $2.60 a year. If I invest $2.60 a year at 10% return for 40 years, I will have … never mind. It’s a good gesture though.
I started bringing my own shopping bags to the stores lately. I have to admit it’s easier said than done because habit changing is hard. More than half of the time I still run into the stores without them. If I’m not already in the checkout line, I make a point of going back to my car and getting my bag. I think I’m doing better. I hope it will become natural after a while and I won’t go into a store without a bag in my hand.