Easy Green: Bring Your Own Bag

Did you know that every year 500 billion to 1 trillion bags are produced worldwide. That means 1 million bags per minute. Worse, America uses more disposable plastic bags than any other country, with 60,000 — YES, 60,000 — plastic bags doled out every FIVE seconds. (source: GOOD magazine, July/August 2007). Can anyone figure out how much that is in a day?

While you calculate and five seconds pass, 60,000 bags make themselves comfortable for the next millennium — that's how long it will take them to disintegrate — so let's avoid the problem all together.

After talking to a few friends and family members, it sounds like most of us really do want to stop using so many plastic bags. The problem, however, comes in the form of forgetfulness. It seems the biggest issue for most of us is remembering to bring that canvas bag to the store.

"When I'm running late, trying to get to the Wegman's before it closes, and thinking about other things," says my grandmother, "I usually forget to bring my tote." According to my grandmother, one great way to remember is by stuffing a bundle of plastic bags in the glove compartment. If you're like me, however, and don't have a car, try hanging bags on the front doorknob.

Ladies can also keep a bunch of plastic bags in their purse, while guys — if feeling particularly naughty — might consider stuffing a bag in their briefs (Grandma, I hope you're not reading this). Yes, you'll look like a tool, but what girl wouldn't forgive you for being an eco-conscious hunk?

Finally, if you have kids and your grocery store offers money for each canvas bag used, let your children collect the pennies and nickels. They'll love that extra change and if they're as money-hungry as I was, they'll never let you go to the grocery store without remembering to bring that damn tote.

Olivia Zaleski is a green living expert. Watch her helpful green living tips in this ABC Good Morning America segment, Bring Your Own Reusable Bag.

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