San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom started the fire. In March of 2007, Newsom passed the nation's first plastic bag ban outlawing San Fran's supermarkets and large retailers from offering customers non-biodegradable plastic bags.
Though Germany, South Africa, Ireland, Norway and Australia have long imposed restrictions on bag use, several countries and cities have recently jumped on the anti-bagwagon. In early January, China surprised the world by announcing plans to eliminate plastic bags this coming June. The next day, an inspired New York City ordered large stores and retail chains to collect and recycle used plastic bags. And in an exciting climax of events, supermarket chain Whole Foods Inc. declared Tuesday it will no longer offer free plastic bags to customers of its 270 stores in the United States, Canada and Britain.Given that plastic bags are particularly bad for the environment, there is cause for hopeful celebration. Yet, as we move closer to plastic bag extermination, a nervous tension settles in the air. "Oh no. How will I--as lazy, forgetful or busy as I am - remember to bring my reusable bag? And every single time I go to the store? I'm doomed!!!"
1. Play Ball
If you enjoy pegging soft -- or sometimes hard--objects at your coworkers, then you certainly won't forget the 24-7 Bag. The genius invention of Stanford students, Hetal and Eva (not to be mistaken with fairytale protagonists), this stretchy tote shrivels into a good-natured pelting tool. At $15 (Are Hetal and Eva talking guilders here?), the 24-7 Bag makes a worthy investment. Not only will it rile coworkers, but you'll stay armed with a reusable bag. After a few rounds of cubicle dodge-ball and one harsh blow to the head, you'll never leave this ball-sac at home - if not for artillery then at least for the grocery store.
2. Stuff Your Bra
Hippie chicks (sorry to leave you out guys), stop burning your bras!! Instead, use your faithful brassiere to support environmentalism. Triumph Japan's "No! Reji-bukuro Bra," Japanese for "No Plastic Bags Bra," includes two reusable carriers, discretely folded into twin breast-enhancing pouches. Once removed, the compressed bags expand and enhance to large and durable totes--perfect for carrying heavy loads like watermelons and milk jugs. (tip via Treehugger.com).
3. Fill Your Pockets
If you claim "deep pockets," why not fill them with a bag or two. Perhaps the easiest and cheapest reusable-bag antidote, this trick keeps you conveniently equipped for any unplanned purchases throughout the day. Simply deflate air from an old plastic bag and stuff jacket or pants' pocket accordingly. Best of all, this inexpensive last minute trick is easy to remember and maintain. When unpacking the groceries, you'll automatically remember to stuff that empty bag back in your pocket.
4. Belt Up
Then again, if stuffing your pants' pockets sounds uncomfortable or unsightly, why not attach a compact bag to your belt? Check out this reusable bag pouch from the Container Store. It simply clips on your belt, fanny pack, or girdle. Yes, it's nerdy and you'll still be unsightly -- but at least you won't look like your beleaguered by hip cellulite. Better yet, you'll always have a reusable bag right there for a quick draw.
5. Key In
Except for the occasional goof up, we generally don't forget our keys before leaving the house. If you're forgetting your tote just get a reusable-bag keychain. Behold efficiency experts, Reisenthel and their Mini Maxi Shopper Eden. This durable shopping bag folds down to a palm size pouch with built in clip, perfect for attaching to your keys, laser pointer and bottle opener. Now if I could only remember where I put those keys...
Olivia Zaleski is a green living expert.