Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grocery Bags and Turtles

This post contains some cuteness, but I must warn you:
the ending is ugly.
.
My grandma lives in the same town as my mom and they typically do their grocery shopping together. Knowing that they use cloth grocery bags, I made them each a bag for Christmas. Blue and yellow is my mom's favorite color combo so this one is hers:
And my grandma loves purple so she got this one:
I had saved these photos to use as an after-Christmas post and had planned to post them this week, when I came across something that just broke my heart. It's this photo that I found here.
I didn't want to post it, but having seen it I just didn't feel right putting the photos of my mom and grandma's bags up without some mention of this. I did a search and found some facts about plastic grocery bags here. Did you know that:

* 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year, worldwide.
* About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute.
* A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
* More than 3.5 million tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps were discarded in 2008.
* Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC).
* The U.S. goes through 100 billion single-use plastic bags. This costs retailers about $4 billion a year.
* Plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts (2008)
*Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down.
* Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

So, when the grocery clerk asks "paper or plastic" I hope
you'll join me and reply, "Neither. I brought my own bag."

29 comments:

Carrie Rosalind said...

A very good reminder for us all, mom-friend. You make really cute bags. :) And this post made me feel guilty enough to dust off the Albertsons bags and take them to Safeway...

MarleneMAZ said...

Your bags are so cute! You have been doing a lot of sewing lately and I am very impressed with all the gifts you have made.
Thanks for pointing out about the plastic, will definitely think about that from now on.

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a wonderful post. Tara Whitney, a photographer and blogger, resolved to not use any paper or plastic on packing school lunches and blogged about her solution. As some who lives near to and loves the ocean, thank-you!
Rinda

Maria Ontiveros said...

http://tarawhitney.com/justbeblogged/2010/12/snazzy-new-lunchbox/
Deb, the link above will take you to the post i mentioned. Check out the earlier postsvshe referenced for maximum info.
Rinda

helena said...

great bags and I so agree - I always take my own bags. Interesting, when I was in Bangladesh it was paper bags everywhere becasue plastic bags are illegal.

traci said...

yes, i take my own bags. i have about 8 and they stay in my car. mine aren't as cute as yours though.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

That poor turtle! A great reminder and a perfect resolution for the new year - less waste, more reusable bags. I love love love mine. But they're no where near as cute as yours!

Sian said...

Yes, I always bring my own bags - there will be a compulsory charge for plastic bags here soon, which will help a lot I think.

Your bags are very cute - I love the fact that they have big gussets so they open up wide and you can set a lot in the bottom.

Ruth said...

Gorgeous bags. And, yes, I'm a I-have-my-own-thanks kinda shopper.

scrappyjacky said...

I was lucky enough to win a lovely bag from Mel....which is perfect for folding up small and tucking in my handbag....I tend to prefer that than carrying a large bag.
The ones you made are gorgeous.

Lizzie said...

Lovely gifts for your mum and grandma. They must have been so pleased!

Thank you for reminding us about this awful situation. I do try to remember my own shopping bags whenever I go out (even if I don't intend to do any shopping!!).
My grocery shopping is delivered each week and they ask for the old bags back, for recycling. So, at least I know my grocery bags are not adding to the problem.

I am glad you posted about this - it makes me want to try harder and have less occasions when I have to say "Could I have a carrier bag please? I forgot mine."

Mom said...

These bags are just as beautiful and useful as they appear in your post! We both love them and USE them! Over the years, I've purchased several (7 to be exact) of the store bags and use them every week. Our grocery gives a 5 cent credit for each bag used. I've heard the same "rumor" as Sian--the bag charge would help.

Great post, Sweetie! Thanks for all the facts! xo

Beverly said...

Your bags are so cute and I loved your post. I might do a similair post soon and backlink to yours, if that's okay? I try to remember but am not always good, we use the plastic ones to line our cats automatic litterbox. They work perfectly and save lots of $ over the plastic formed liners. I'll have to put my mind to trying to find a more earth friendly solution.

Liberty :) said...

great reminder, i try to remember but often forget. my bugbear though is polystyrene, it is the root of all evil. we dug out the garden and found a polystyrene cup in pristine condition which had been buried since the house was built in the early 80's. they just don't biodegrade and it makes me really sad. your bags are gorgeous though!!!

Lady Moon said...

I read this and have to admit that yesterday we got to our favorite store, Sprouts and had none of our bags with us. I was not happy with myself. That is the first time I've had to let them use plastic bags. I need to buy more because shopping for a family of 5 takes a lot of bags at regular grocery stores.

We recycle the bags we do use but I would rather not use any. I wish I had the sewing skills you did so I could make my own. I have a sewing machine but it's used for easy stuff like hemming and making curtains.

I am going to look for a pattern and try to make my own. The worst that happens is that my sewing skills or lack there of require that I buy some more instead. What kind of material do you use to make yours?

I think if I get the kids involved we can be plastic bag free. They love making a difference. Thanks for the inspiration!

Rhona said...

I love your bags and bet your Mum and Grandma did too. It's made me want to make some for myself but I'll need to find suitable material and a pattern first ;o) (I can't sew without a pattern!). I do use cloth bags but they're the stores own and aren't nearly as cute as yours!

Lady Moon said...

Hi again! I love your bags so much. I was wondering if you have a pattern? If not what are the dimensions so I have an idea of where to start. The kids want to make some soon.Thanks!

Make My Day UK said...

hi again lovely lady! can you e-mail me makemydayuk@gmail.com with your e-mail address please? I want to invite you to my blog!!! Kate here from Liberty Cottage with my work account!

photogmichelle said...

My resolution for this year and obviously going forward is to not use one plastic bag from a grocery store. I have a bunch of reusable bags and I will be sewing up my own super cute ones as well.

Kristin said...

What a lovely post and a great message. And beautiful bags, I love the colors! Happy New Year!

cate said...

many of the department stores in Australia already charge for bags, but I must admit to being very slack with reusable bags (called green bags here) - in the last few years I've found it too difficult to juggle reusable bags with numerous children/prams/hands/bags... but you've given me the impetus to pause and rethink and make a small change. thank you.

Cheri said...

I use my cloth grocery bags (even though my kids are embarassed by it) and when we do get plastic bags, we reuse them as trash can liners here at home. I keep them folded in a drawer. When it gets too full, I take a bunch to the grocery store for recycling. We also recycle all our plastic, aluminum, paper and cardboard - taking it all to the recycling center in town each week. I wish everyone would get on board with trying to save our planet. Thanks for the inspiring post!

debs14 said...

We don't get the paper option where I live (I've only ever seen paper bags in Ikea) but we do have 'Bags for Life' that are stronger and can be used over and over again. I also have a couple of canvas bags I use. The concept of free plastic bags is passing by here and in some places you have to pay for them.
Your canvas bags are so pretty, your sewing machine has certainly been busy recently!

Valerie said...

Those bags are super cute--I was there when they both opened them and they both loved them! SO creative, you are!!!!

Lady Moon said...

Hi! Thanks for sharing your bag design. I know exactly where to get duck cloth for a good price. I like the design and plan on trying our first one this weekend. I think even with my limited sewing skills we should be able to pull it off. Have a great day!

Rachel B said...

Oh my goodness, that's shocking! A lot of our local shops charge for bags now and I am using my own bags more and more for supermarket shopping. I find it's clothes stores that are very wasteful. They use separate bags for everything when it can all go in one big bag! :)

humel said...

The bags are gorgeous, and good for you, raising awareness of something so important. I always take my own bags when I do the supermarket shop, and I keep a couple of small fabric bags in my handbag, too, for smaller purchases during the week. It horrifies me to see the number of plastic carriers some people leave the shops with. I can't say that I *never* accept a plastic bag though, so you've prompted me to try even harder xx

Karen said...

I, too, use cloth bags at the grocery store. I keep them in the car, so there's no way I can forget them. They aren't as beautiful as yours, however.

Lady Moon said...

I wanted to drop a note to let you know that I have finished my first cloth shopping bag. It came out great and I plan on making a lot more. I posted about it on my blog.

I also shared parts of your post(I hope you don't mind)on my facebook page hoping to inspire others as you did I. As soon as my sister saw my facebook pictures she wanted one so I guess I have my first order.

Thanks!

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