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Feb 10, 2008 01:08 PM

Paper, plastic or BYOB?

I recently bought reusable bags (called Baggu) with the intention of bringing them to the grocery store and hopefully cutting down on the number of bags we bring home... When I shared this with a friend she was horrified that I was going to be one of "those people".

According to her, bringing your own bag (BYOB) is a hassle because it creates such a commotion at the cash register, it slows the line down, etc. I on the other hand have made it my new years resolution to go a little greener...and believe that BYOB is very easy and convenient. As they say, its the little changes that count.

This topic has been in the news lately as a result of Whole Foods announcing that they will no longer carry plastic bags as of Earth Day. Is it that crazy to BYOB? Do other people do this, and if so, do you think its easy or hard to BYOB? As a Chowhound, do you have other tips to go a little greener?

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  1. I live in San Diego (and previously in Tempe) and have never had any grocery clerk be flustered when I bring a reusable bag. In fact, at my local Vons (Safeway), a clerk told me this is becoming much more common. All of my grocery shopping is done this way. Trying to do it at other stores (like Target) is more problematic. Good luck to you!

    2 Replies
    1. re: dustchick

      Actually, Target is now selling its own BYOB bag. It's red and typically in the grocery area. My cashier loaded my stuff right in it without skipping a beat.

      1. re: grlwprls

        Good to know. The last time I tried BYOB at Target, the clerk put the items into the plastic Target bag and THEN put it into my own.

    2. Good for you for going green! We have also been trying our best to bring our own bag when we go grocery shopping. A good tip - if you have access to an Ikea, purchase one of their shopping bags. I believe they are around 59 cents and can hold a week's worth of stuff. Also, at our local Trader Joe's, if you bring your own bag, you are entered to win a $25 certificate each week. Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ndcaligurl

        Don't forget that TJ's also has great bags that they sell for grocery shopping. I use it for so much more. They make great picnic or beach bags as well.

      2. Commotion? Ridiculous. Bring your own bag. It's easy, conserves resources, etc. etc. You can even get a bag discount on your bill at some stores.

        My tip would be to make sure you keep one bag in the car, one bag at home, one collapsible bag in your purse if you can. I'm always frustrated when I've forgotten my reusable bag somewhere and have to bring home yet another paper bag.

        And another thing... consider *not* using plastic produce bags. Some produce might require bagging (I'm thinking... pea pods, beans, etc.). But a lot of produce can just be heaped in your cart and then put directly into your reusable shopping bag. And for those pea pods and beans and the like, there are small and light reusable bags that work well specifically for produce.

        1. BYOB is definitely status quo here in Oregon. Not only do grocery stores not mind, they encourage it and often pay you five cents or so per bag you bring -- even if the bags you bring are paper bags from another store. Anything we can do to save trees (and dinosaurs, apparently, by not using plastic bags).

          1. I frankly can't remember the last time I used a plastic bag. I own about 5-6 cotton tote bags which are perfect for shopping. One of them is huge with a shoulder strap, it's actually from Whole Foods NYC...

            At the register it never creates a commotion because I pack the bags myself, and it's not exactly rocket surgery --

            I am always blown away at what a ridiculous number of plastic bags some people have in their carts -- it's like 2 or 3 items per bag. That is simply outrageous. Not sure why the baggers at the grocery store go so over the top with this.

            7 Replies
            1. re: linguafood

              I like plastic and if they do away with them, plan to bring in used plastic bags that I am now stockpiling.

              1. re: linguafood

                it kills me when i see someone using a gazillion plastic bags for a few items, and it's all too common.

                i've accumulated 9 or 10 reusable shopping bags over the last several years, and this being LA, they're stashed in my car since i always drive to the store. at this point it's become second nature for me to just grab one or two out of the trunk on my way in.

                cashiers at grocery stores don't bat an eye when i use my own bags. [at the drugstore they get a little confused by it.] they're typically more flabbergasted by my insistence on bagging my own groceries. i get a kick out of the way they're always so grateful to me for "helping," when in actuality, i do it because i'm a control freak and i want them packed my way :)

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  ghg, your drugstore issues are your own <g> but I salute your use of reusable bags. Good for you, also, in bagging your own.


                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I love that"Thank you for bagging" thing.If I wanted my eggs scrambled by the 5lb bag of onions, I would have done it myself. I was at my local Shoprite and read where they refund .02 cents for each of their regular bags. Seems like a good start. Although I have yet to see them bag a customer's groceries in a "recycled" bag

                    1. re: currymouth

                      i grudgingly let someone at WFM bag my groceries for me when i threw my back out last month, and when i got home i discovered 4 broken eggs in a carton that had been just fine when i inspected them in the store.

                      WFM gives you a 5-cent refund for each bag you re-use, or for using your own, and as a previous poster mentioned, TJ's holds a weekly raffle for the same. of course, i've been filling out those raffle tickets for YEARS and i have yet to win...

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      it really is no biggie for us. we shop @wegmans practically every day of the week, and the cashiers who don't already recognize us we tell "we got bags" before they can even start putting stuff in plastic. and I bag. it's fast & efficient.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Wegmans is the temple of foodstuffs, and I wish I could shop there every day , If only for the cheese and vegetables.Too far and frequently, too expensive