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Plastic Grocery Bag Ban - what do you do about meat?

My city's bag ban begins next month, and while I applaud the environmental theory behind it, it's going to be incredibly annoying. I stop at the grocery store pretty much every other day for one or two things and I often forget my reusable bags since I don't think I'm going to be going to the store that day - only I get the text from husband that we're out of food for the dog, and off I stop on the way home.

Our dog eats raw, which means I'm usually buying meat on these little jaunts, so even when I bring my own bags, that's the one item I use their plastic bags for. At the farmer's market, I bag my strawberries because they stain everything. I don't want meat leaking through paper bags onto my car, or spreading e. coli to my resuables....if you exclusively bring your own bags, what do you do about meat and foods that stain? And, related, with what do you pick up your dog poop? =)

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  1. I do not mean to be disrespectful but do you really applaud the 'thought' that went into this ban? How bad are plastic bags for the environment, truthfully.
    Clearly you find the bags useful, most people do. Why the ban and why would you support it?

    2 Replies
    1. re: michaelwhy

      Not to steer it into too political a discussion, but I do applaud the thought that went into it - they use a tremendous amount of petroleum to create, they end up in sewers and trees and are an eyesore, they build up in landfills and oceans and don't break down. they are hazards for birds and sealife that eat them... I just wish they would limit their use rather than ban them outright, or have them available for 5 cents if I so chose to avoid getting juice on my other items. I'm a compromise/moderation kind of person rather than a one-size-fits-all.

      1. re: michaelwhy

        I will be happy when I no longer see plastic grocery bags floating in the air or waving from tree tops.

        As I grew up, there were no plastic groery bags. Seemed to work out alright without them.

        I applaud the action.

      2. High five! My town's bag ban goes into effect soon, and I feed raw too. I think I'm going to designate one of my sturdier, plastic lined reusable bags as the meat bag. If something leaks, so be it, it'll be contained. If I know I'm buying something really fragile, I bring containers. I'm a wide mouth quart mason jar girl who makes the odd exception for the safety of plastic. And really, if berries leaked a little in a reusable mesh or fabric bag onto other groceries, it'd be okay. I think we could probably all stand to adjust our standards a bit.

        1. We've had the ban in Santa Monica for a while and the grocery stores still have the plastic produce bags. Whole Foods wasn't using plastic shopping bags well before the city banned them, but they still have the smaller plastic bags available in the produce and bulk sections.

          My local pet stores still sell the plastic waste bags and I haven't seen any signs saying they're going away.

          I have no idea about the actual legalities behind all of this. My guess is that health codes take precedence over environmental issues for the time being.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Azizeh

            Produce bags continue to be provided - all my meat will be placed into those (probably double bagged) before I put them into my bag.

          2. where I am, plastic shopping bags have been banned for years -- you really do get used to carrying bags in the car when you have no choice.

            The meat departments usually have plastic bags -- or the produce department always has the super-thin bags (because nobody's really going to dump a pound of mushrooms loose into a cloth bag....)

            And we buy biodegradable bags for the dog.

            1. Not sure about your town, but here only the bags used to carry things out of the store are banned- the deli, meat and produce sections all still have plastic bags.

              (a fellow raw feeder!)

              1. One of the resaons plastic bags came about is exactly for the reason you are citing thursday; they are an answer to messy, leaky foods. Since we are hell bent on turning back the clock 50 years in this country and banning all plastic to be "green," I guess we have to get used to the messy, leaky foods dripping into, onto and out of our environmentally-safe paper and recycled material bags. If our ancestors did it, we can too! :)

                5 Replies
                1. re: ttoommyy

                  when you convince everyone to throw away their old plastic bags, instead of leaving them to tangle in every available piece of the surrounding landscape, I'll consider agreeing with you. But don't count on it.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    What about all the other plastic that winds up littering the landscape? I can walk 2 blocks in any direction of where I live and see plastic garbage littering the streets. Should we go back to making kids toys out of metal? Why just the ban on plastic bags?

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      Every little bit helps -- and plastic bags make up most of the roadside garbage I've seen.

                      One thing at a time.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        But I don't see the ban happening with any other products. The most plastic trash I see is water bottles and their caps. Far more of those than plastic bags. I just feel that the plastic ban bag is a token gesture. It's not that I am against it; it's just the lopsidedness of the whole thing.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Actually, the statistics don't bear this out. They show that plastic bags make up about 1% of the litter. Perhaps because they are larger than a can or bottle you notice them more?

                  2. One of my insulated bags has 'meat' written on it with a sharpie so I know that that's the bag to use, and wash if necessary.

                    1. My area has not banned the bags, but I have been bringing my own for years.

                      If you are traveling to the grocery via you car just keep a small cooler or dishpan handy. I transfer any potentially messy item to one of them once I get to the car. Very easy to contain the mess and very easy to sanitize.

                      If remembering bags is an issue get a few of the stuff-sack sort. They have a clip and nicely fit into a purse or on a key chain.

                      1. My town banned plastic bags a few years ago. The store I usually patronize uses heavy butcher paper for meat, poultry and fish, which seems to work well. They have green plastic (green colored, that is) bags for produce, which are recyclable.

                        19 Replies
                        1. re: tardigrade

                          butcher paper... wow, i remember that stuff. how quickly we forget.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            Not only do they still use butcher paper in Europe -- you can even buy a package of pre-cut sheets of it at the supermarket ( I use at least as much of that as I do plastic wrap!)

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              I live in the US, and the vast majority of my meat is wrapped in butcher paper. Just a few things I can't get in the butcher case ...

                              1. re: foiegras

                                That's because you go to a butcher. Most people buy meat in a supermarket.

                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                  The meat I buy at any supermarket's butcher counter typically is wrapped in butcher paper, and has been wherever I've lived. Quite often it's bagged in plastic and then wrapped in paper, and sometimes then bagged again, at least unless I tell them not to.

                              2. re: sunshine842

                                I bought a huge roll of butcher paper at Costco years ago. But I think they still sell the big rolls. I use a stretch of it for the wooden table in the kitchen when a repair man or someone else comes into the kitchen and tries to set their dirty repair bag on the table.

                                The same goes for the checkout where I place my groceries - I'd sure like to put down some butcher paper where others have placed the bottom of their bags that they carry around in their cars. Yeah, they're really clean.

                                Back to butcher paper, I use it lots of times for meats at home, but wouldn't think of letting meat drip into a butcher paper lined bag.

                                1. re: Rella

                                  <'bottom of their bags that they carry around in their cars. Yeah, they're really clean'>

                                  I'm happy to see I'm not the only one who notices the obvious. Some of the not-so-well-kept people I see, and the bags they bring in to match...I'd love to take out a squirt bottle of bleach before I set my food down on that conveyer belt.

                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    Do all of you really believe that your food is sterile when you purchase it?

                                    Do you just not wash or peel or cook your food?

                                    The food business is dirty. Hauling around a sheet of butcher paper isn't going to make it any cleaner.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      <Do all of you really believe that your food is sterile when you purchase it?>

                                      Nope. But what I don't see I can deal with. It's the grungy, smelly, greasy haired men/women with their equally filthy bags that make me wanna gag.

                                      1. re: latindancer

                                        Yep, bags set in cars where dogs are sitting themselves, diapers are being changed, oh, my!
                                        Food business dirty? right-o!

                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                        I find life, including grocery shopping, is so much better when I don't get all OCD about it ;)

                                        We thrived as a species for millennia without chemical disinfectants. Personally, nothing makes me cringe like the smell of bleach (an item that doesn't exist in my household). A close second is the spraying of Windex while I'm trying to eat in a restaurant.

                                          1. re: foiegras

                                            "A close second is the spraying of Windex while I'm trying to eat in a restaurant."

                                            ^)(*&%&$ I'm telling you that makes me mad, too; as mad as someone sweeping in front of my table/booth.

                                            But I do OCD aobut it, whatever that is.

                                            1. re: Rella

                                              <But I do OCD about it, whatever that is.>

                                              Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It's a term used, loosely, to make people look like they're a little nutty when it comes to cleanliness.
                                              Sometimes it's used by people who aren't too clean themselves but like to make those who are, look abnormal.

                                            2. re: foiegras

                                              <I find life, including grocery shopping, is so much better when I don't get all OCD about it :).

                                              I so agree....oh, and the bleach thing too. Don't even get me started with the Windex crap.
                                              I suppose my aversion stems from the amoebic dysentary I picked up in Mexico 40 years ago where the shrimp I ate wasn't refrigerated and the woman, changing her baby's diapers next to my breakfast, had the dirtiest fingernails I've ever seen in my life and her toilet habits were highly questionable. I bled for about a year before the docs in this country decided they had no idea what it was and how I should get rid of it was up for grabs. it wasn't fun. But hey!...keeping food clean isn't a priority with some and that's fine with me as long as it doesn't affect me.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                I'm glad you survived - sometimes doctors have no clue - they have to be reminded, too, to wash their hands -- this is nothing new.

                                                On topic:

                                                I stopped buying from a seller from a farmers market after I saw her lay the baby on a blanket in the grass, change his diaper and walk right back to the table where she was selling. No, I didn't see any anti-biotic stuff or water reach her hands. I wondered if I had bought salad greens from her the previous week :-))

                                                1. re: Rella

                                                  That is absolutely dangerous, no question about it.

                                                  There's a big difference between dropping a food vendor due to unsanitary food handling, and getting upset over the fact that a public area isn't clean. That is not new news ... it remains a constant, regardless of the state of other shoppers' hair, bags, etc.

                                                  In all the time I used reusable bags, I had a leak only once, and that bag went straight into the wash. It may not have been meat, may have been fruit.

                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                    *this*

                                                    Obviously, dirty diapers and food don't go together...but I promise that cauliflower has touched far dirtier things than the checkout belt in its existence.

                                                    And please-- don't tell me that your life is somehow magically sterile and spotless. It's not.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      Sunshine: I assume you are replying to foigrass, but I just want to say that:

                                                      One's life is never spotless and sterile, but it is one's own dirt. We are more adverse to others' dirt, because we think we know what our dirt is, , and we generally don't know what others' dirt consist of.

                                                      I won't point out, don't have to, what I just can't abide in others' homes that I am alarmed about - and they probably in mine. Neither of the houses are sterile, we know that...

                                2. As far as forgetting your reusable bags, just hang the bags on the doorknob once you unpack the groceries, and the next time you go outside, toss them in the trunk. That's what we do- we also have about 10 bags so there are usually at least a few in the car at any time.

                                  I think Vetter's idea for a plastic lined reusable bag is a good one. We buy almost all of our meat at Whole Foods and we've never, ever had a problem with leaks- they wrap it well in butcher paper and we just toss it into our standard unlined cloth bag. My impression with the new bag ban (I'm in LA, looks like you are too?) is that it applies to the plastic handled shopping bags, not the thin, smaller plastic produce bags, which are in fact what we use to pick up dog poop. My mom has been reusing those produce bags (rinsing them out and hanging them up on the clothesline) for years, but that isn't necessarily possible for everyone. If the ban does cover the smaller bags, then I'll have to find some kind of reusable lined bag for wet broccoli, lettuce etc.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: tinnywatty

                                    I'm in LA also.

                                    Putting my bags in my trunk is no different than leaving them at home. I have to, literally, put them on my driver's seat so I'll remember them and hang onto the until I exit the car. I've now purchased about 100 of them because I refuse to use paper/plastic bags at the checkout and so I keep purchasing more and more and more. It's just pure habit and the withdrawal of those horrible plastic bags that'll get us all on the bandwagon. I put my meat/seafood in those flimsy produce bags along with my fruits/vegetables. Seems to work just fine.

                                    1. re: tinnywatty

                                      I keep my cloth bags in the trunk and out-of-sight, out-of-mind, because I always forget to carry them into the store and end up bringing the cart out to my car and bagging my groceries in my trunk.

                                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                                        several chains have stand-up signs that they put outside the front door, asking "Did you bring your bags?"

                                        Another chain gave out a sticker that was designed to go right in the middle of the steering wheel -- "Don't forget your bags!"

                                    2. It may be PC to call these "single-use bags," but it's complete crap: I reuse these bags many times as long as they're clean! If the city you're talking about is LA, I believe meat & produce departments will still be permitted to use them.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: katydid13

                                        Same here katydid. I use them over and over again.

                                      2. I'm in Pasadena, actually, which starts the ban sooner than LA, but all the same since I do my shopping in both towns. It's a problem I'll just have to deal with, but I've had my own reusable bags for years now and only remember them when we go to the farmer's market - probably because it's a planned trip. I can't for the life of me remember to keep them in my car, but that's also probably because I drive a jeep with broken air conditioning, so anything in the car has the danger of flying out the windows...

                                        I like the idea of a designated meat bag, but that still leaves strawberries at the farmer's market - they stained my reusable produce bags which then got mold from the stains (I guess I didn't wash them fast enough) so it's the one thing I still take the proffered bags for... And I guess I'll have to buy a whole stack of "meat" bags because I'm not going to remember to check which car it's in before we leave for work in the morning...

                                        Sigh. I'm not looking forward to this...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: thursday

                                          I have reusable bags that are lined on the inside with plastic. Mine came from Japan (gift) but I googled them and found quite a few.

                                          1. re: thursday

                                            thursday, they're still bagging meat at Ralphs just as they always have, and the produce section still has them too. As for forgetting, I started using reusables from TJ's a couple of years ago, and then from other markets as they began handing them out. Having a wagon as my driver helped me to remember, since they were out there in the open, and now it's a well-established habit to grab one before going in. I may however have to buy a bunch of TJ's paper bags, just to keep us in under-table kitchen trash receptacles!

                                          2. Quite a few years ago there was a big deal about "plastic" bags made from cornstarch. Where did those go, I wonder?

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: sandylc

                                              If they get wet they thicken everything into gravy.
                                              They still have them. I use them in a mini pail for vegetables and egg shells for composting.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                Corn Starch-based trash can liners still contain at least 75% plastic resins, which do not break down into their component parts within a landfill.

                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                  That's so sad. So they're just another excuse to grown more corn and promote corn subsidies? Essentially a PR tactic?

                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                    The important thing to remember is that conventional corn is basically made with petroleum. The reason we are basically made from corn now is that corn is the crop that responds best to conventional fertilizers, which are made from petroleum.

                                                    Unless the corn is organic (which it isn't in most cases), 'made from corn' is just a less efficient way to make something from petroleum.

                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                      and it never completely disintegrates, just turns into near microscopic particles that become a toxic part of the ecology that we will never get rid of.

                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                        I just figure we'll replace petroleum with nuclear power.

                                                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                          Can't wait for the plastic bags made from that ...

                                              2. As we do not have any such ban (yet), but as we get so many plastic bags (as many as we can ever reuse), I just get paper, which helps me with my recycle, such as empty wine bottles. I will "dump" the contents, but they help me get the suckas' to the recycle bin.

                                                For buying wines (and many groceries), we use burlap bags, to get most of the stuff home. Cannot recall how much we paid for them, but they were fairly cheap. We also recycle any cardboard wine "totes," and either fill them again, or hand them over.

                                                Hunt

                                                1. Use a cloth bag and throw it in the laundry each time you use it. Meat comes wrapped in paper - so you shouldn't get more than small leaks.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Peg

                                                    Our meat only comes wrapped in paper if we buy from the butcher. From the refrigerated section in the grocery, it's in a styrofoam tray, wrapped in plastic that often has unforeseen holes. It not only leaks through the packaging, it often has extra juice that leaks out of the plastic meat department bags that are provided - they're too small for the Family Size packs.

                                                  2. Once the ban starts most stores will be giving away reusable bags or selling them very inexpensively as a promotion. So it is easy to acquire quite a collection. Then just leave by the door, take them out to the car, you will always have a few at hand. It will soon become another habit.

                                                    As for the issue of meat and perishables there are also nice sturdy insulted bags, that are plastic lined. Those are great for the summer. They cost a bit more, but are useful. Get a couple of those freezer gel packs and it works to keep drinks and snacks cool on car tips too.

                                                    Trader Joe's has a good selection of sturdy bags for a couple of bucks each and an insulated one as well.

                                                    1. Vegetable bags are still free here, so I use those for things that might leak. And my grocery bags go in the wash if they get dirty. Most of mine are like these http://www.smartbag.com/products.php?... and they wash really well (cold water machine wash inside out, hang to dry...they dry within an hour).
                                                      Because we don't have a car, we were using reusable bags long before the ban. Easier on the hands than crappy plastic store bags when they are full and heavy and you can get more in them.

                                                      1. As a PP said, meat is wrapped well in butcher paper and goes fine from cart to cloth bag to home, I have never had any leaks, ever.

                                                        We have a LOT of cloth bags so there would no longer be an excuse - we both have a bunch in the trunk all the time. If you go in the store and forget them, take your lazy butt back out to the parking lot and get them out of the trunk. :) Seriously though, unless you take the bus to the grocery or are severerly handicapped such that going back out to the car for the bags is such a hardship that you can't even begin to imagine it, forgetting them in the car is not a huge deal. You get to the checkout line, realize you don't have them, pull your cart to the side, walk out and get them and come back in. Once you do this like 3 or 4 times, you start remembering to bring them in. And really, how much time does it REALLY add to your trip to park the cart somewhere in the store, walk out to your car and get the bags. It's not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life, just go back out and get the bags.

                                                        I put most of my produce loose in the cart and then loose into the cloth bag. I usually try to bag things myself. Bags are washable, that's the advantage of cloth. If you get strawberry juice on them (or the yogurt gets squeezed open and you get yogurt water on everything, as just happened to me a few days ago), throw them in the washer and dryer. It's really not so hard. There were decades upon decades where people survived without plastic bags at the grocery.

                                                        Many cloth grocery bag makers do make little washable drawstring bags, by the way. You could use these for produce, for meats, or for dog poop if so inclined. Just like cloth diapering, dump the poop in the toilet (where it should go anyway, not a landfill), or into the trash out of the bag, and wash the bag. You could buy several and then wash them all together as one small load if you're concerned about washing other stuff with them.
                                                        I do not have a dog so can't comment on that.

                                                        13 Replies
                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                          "dump the poop in the toilet (where it should go anyway, not a landfill"

                                                          You don't have a dog. When I walk my dog I pick up the poop with a biodegradable bag. I then throw it any dumpster that's nearest to me.
                                                          Poop in a landfill is not a problem....the whole package, poop and the bag is biodegradable. I can't imagine bringing it home, opening the biodegradable bag and emptying it into the toilet. That's a little wacky imho.

                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                            OMG, to have to haul dog poop into the house, scrape it out of the cloth bag, then actually put said bag into my clothes washer where I wash my clothes and kitchen towels, etc.....

                                                            THAT'S DISGUSTING. Never going to happen.

                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                              I actually said "or the trash can" but whatever. What do you think people who cloth diaper do? Exactly what you've described. And did for a very, very long time, before we had landfills.

                                                              Even biodegradable bags do not break down in landfills, sorry.

                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                "Even biodegradable bags do not break down in landfills, sorry"

                                                                I didn't even mention that. Must be for someone else?

                                                                I think many people these days who use cloth diapers use a service. There are many things that people did in the past that we are very lucky to not have to do now. I know that a generation or two ago people struggled with a lack of ways to stay/become clean in their daily lives. I just don't know of any sane person who wants to put dog poop bits in their clothes washer, that's all!

                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                  Sorry if I mis-directed my response, someone upthread said something about biodegradable bags.

                                                                  I was part of a very, very large cloth diapering community, and I can assure you the vast majority of us to do not use a service, mostly because a) none are available or b) they are very, very expensive! But that's really getting off topic. I mean, dog poo is not really on topic related to Chowhound either, so perhaps we should cease the discussion about it.

                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                    I am sorry, but must be missing something here.

                                                                    Do people use diapers for meat, when shopping at a supermarket, or butcher?

                                                                    Sorry for being so out of touch.

                                                                    Hunt

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      "Do people use diapers for meat, when shopping at a supermarket, or butcher?"

                                                                      Yes. Hee. Sorry. :-)

                                                                2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                  You already said you don't have a dog.

                                                                  If you had one, you would understand why nobody who has a dog would ever consider that.

                                                                  There is an in-ground composter that some folks do buy to compost their dog poo -- but that's not always an option.

                                                                  Really truly -- I pick it up with biodegradable bags (our municipal waste is incinerated) and dispose of it in a municipal rubbish bin as soon as humanly possible.

                                                                  And there is *no way* that dogshit bags are going in the washer where the clothes I wear get washed.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Thank you!!!!

                                                                    Reminds me of a story - my dad was once working on the water heater out in the garage and some water got on the garage floor. He took some old towels and mopped up the floor, then put the dirty wet towels into the clothes dryer. I think he probably SLEPT in the garage for at least a few nights after that!

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      I grew up with dogs, I just do not have one now. We had to dump the poo in a sewer grate. Anyway, back on topic, which is not dog poo or cloth diapering!

                                                                    2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                      "Even biodegradable bags do not break down in landfills, sorry."

                                                                      Of course they do. Perhaps not overnight but eventually.

                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        If the landfill has been properly constructed, eventually means a very, very long time (at least 50-100 years, poss. longer.) Not long in geological terms, to be sure...

                                                                3. Dumb question--are paper bags included in the ban?

                                                                  I use my canvas bags about 50% of the time, but I don't have a car and I do my shopping on foot/by public transportation. I try to keep a folded canvas bag in my "work bag" but sometimes I'm just out and about and realize I need some groceries, or I buy more than one canvas bag can hold. I guess I'd get used to it in time--I've visited European cities where presumably people were also not driving home and they seemed to manage--but it would take some getting used to if this passes in my community.

                                                                  24 Replies
                                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                    Paper bags are not included in the ban, but will be charged 10 cents a bag if you forget your reuseables.

                                                                    I'm flabbergasted (in an admiring way) at the number of people that plan their shopping in advance, shop at places nice enough to paper-wrap their meat, and do laundry often enough that their cloth bags never get stained. I've been using reuseables for years, in theory, but I am not nearly organized enough to plan whether husband or I will be going to the store (and thus whose car to put the bags in), what day I'll be going to the store, or even how much I will be buying. I go in for one thing and come out with twenty; or I go in for twenty and come out with one. Kitchen towels and other items that go on hot get washed maybe once a month - it feels too small a load to wash more frequently. I'm not worried about the inconvenience of remembering my own bags (well, I am, but I'll just have to get over it), I'm worried about the germs. I'm not a neat person. I guarantee there will be salmonella somewhere in my living space before the year is out! =)

                                                                    I seriously can't figure out at what point all my contemporaries became grown-ups. I missed that train.

                                                                    1. re: thursday

                                                                      This is purely an observation -- but you asked a question, and have discounted every single solution suggestion that has been made.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        I agree. Each problem is solve-able. The only place I buy meat from are places where it's fresh in a display case and from a small and/or local farmer, and yes, they put it in a little paper boat and then put butcher paper around it. I don't buy factory farmed meat, so maybe it's a different experience - maybe that's the stuff that's leaking.

                                                                        We have a toddler. We do laundry once-twice a week. That's a big improvement from every 2-3 days, which is how often we hd to do laundry when he was in cloth diapers.

                                                                        We have at least 20 bags. Lots of places give them away now, so we've only bought about half the ones we have - plenty to split between cars, no "planning" necessary.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Sorry, I didn't mean for it to come across that way - hence the smiley face.

                                                                          I appreciate the suggestions and am interested in the responses. I plan to get a few plastic lined bags, maybe get a few red ones that I don't mind if they get stained for my beloved strawberries...I'm still mulling over what we'll do. I was hoping people had solutions (and they do), I'm just honestly flabbergasted at how so many people are not flummoxed by this. I was just continuing to comment as thoughts came to me because I found it amusing in a self-deprecating way. I'm not discounting any of the solutions. On the contrary, I've already been browsing on amazon and the like for options.

                                                                          1. re: thursday

                                                                            my hubby has picked up a collection of really nice cloth bags at conferences and trade shows. They're so good, however, that they get used for everything *but* groceries!

                                                                            It does take a while to get used to it...and there will be times that you forget your bags anyway -- but it really does become second nature after a while.

                                                                            Fortunately, the stores sell their heavy-duty bags here for less than $1 - so even if you forget your bags, it's not the end of the world. And they replace them for free if and as they blow out...so you don't mind letting friends have one to carry their stuff home from your house, etc., etc., etc.

                                                                            1. re: thursday

                                                                              I've been using my own bags for 20+ years (yep, people used to look at me like I was insane) and I have rarely had anything create a mess. About the only time was when a cloth bag with fresh beets got tossed about by a "helper" and once when a plastic tub of grind your own peanut butter got squeezed between some canned goods.

                                                                              If you are really concerned about berries staining the bags bring a few ziplocks to dump them into!

                                                                              As you look at options think about your grocery habits. Canned goods and boxes transport easier in a bag with a flat bottom and high, firmer sides. Most produce does fine in a stuff-sack style bag. Do you purchase greeting cards, magazines or newspapers too? A firmer bag with a side pocket keeps the paper items from getting dogeared. The market baskets with the collapsible aluminum frame have come down in price and are nice for heavy items (canned goods, potatoes, drinks). I use one of those or a large wicker basket when I go to the farmers market. They protect my produce from bumps and are sturdy enough to set down if need be.

                                                                              Do you crochet? I've seen some clever sturdy handle bags crocheted from discarded plastic bags!

                                                                              Don't buy too many - once you start to use them you'll quickly figure out what sizes and styles work for you needs.

                                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                                              Or to put a different way:
                                                                              I didn't realize so many people had their shit together. This thread highlights my personal flaws more distinctly than I had anticipated.

                                                                              I feel like a monkey raised by humans. Your ways perplex and fascinate me.

                                                                              1. re: thursday

                                                                                nah -- you, too, will get your shit together...and you'll even have a bag to carry it in. ;)

                                                                                1. re: thursday

                                                                                  I most definitely do not have my shit together!

                                                                                  However, I do manage to limit my shopping to once a week.
                                                                                  I pose a question, do you remember you purse, keys and wallet?
                                                                                  If so you can get into the habit of remembering bags. We have about 20 bags, all which we have gotten for free. We keep about half in each car because generally we never need more than four. We put them on the door when we are done and they return to the car. They live in the back seat so no reason to forget them in the trunk. My mother folds hers into the side door pockets so if you hate the backseat there are other options. We shop at a scan as you go store which means I can bag everything they it should be.

                                                                                  When I leave the house I ask myself: phone wallet keys? I had a bad habit of forgetting my ID for work and my lunch so I added: lunch ID? If you can add bags to whatever your way of remembering your keys and money etc. is you should be ok.

                                                                                  Perhaps more planning would save you money at the store as well if you are frequently going in for one thing and coming out with twenty.
                                                                                  Also I don't understand the issue with going in for 20 and coming out with one. Why ate bags even a problem then.

                                                                                  Honestly my major concern is that you only wash you dish towels once a month!

                                                                                  1. re: thursday

                                                                                    Thursday, I'm with you. I just have to look at something twice and I swear I see mold growing on it. It may be where we live (I'm in Pasadena, too) - strawberries go bad in like 6 hours here. I have the reusable bags that I carry around just because I like them (I got them on a trip to Japan, they're lovely) and there is no way I'm putting strawberries in them. I don't know - I'll carry them in my hands, I guess. I buy most meat at Costco and that gets put in one of their free cardboard boxes that I then put in my recycling container when I get home.

                                                                                2. re: thursday

                                                                                  It's pretty easy to keep a few bags in the trunk of each car- that's what we do. One less problem solved:) And I always grab more bags than I need, if not used the box person just tucks the unused in with the groceries.

                                                                                  I've never bought one either. The store I regularly shop at gives them every couple of months as some kind of promotion.

                                                                                  1. re: BubblyOne

                                                                                    and I find that having too many is rarely a problem -- they get kidnapped to carry everything in the house that needs carrying.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Several years ago, my mother started buying them to use as gift bags in lieu of wrapping paper and they are always welcome.

                                                                                      1. re: BubblyOne

                                                                                        My mom likes these reusable grocery bags for gift bags, esp for kids and birthdays.
                                                                                        http://www.bulkbarn.ca/en-ca/page/jun...

                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Exactly. I've got 2 from Wegman's sent to me by a friend (they weren't yet in my area); I've got 1 from Target; 2 from Trader Joe's, an insulated bag from TJs, and 2 non-descript ones. I've also got an extra-large bag from Tesco in England that my sister-in-law didn't want and Mom knew I liked to have various sizes of reusable bags, so she brought it back from her last trip over there. That Tesco bag is perfect for bringing the warehouse-type kitchen supplies into work.

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          I bought a wine bottle carrier bag with slots for six bottles and now I use it at the grocery store for cartons of juice and milk.

                                                                                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                            I got one of those from my former wine store. LOVE that thing. :-) Forgot to list that one as well.

                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                              How smart is that? I have one too and never thought of using it for that purpose.

                                                                                      3. re: thursday

                                                                                        We only do laundry once a week. And if one (or more) needs a wash, throw it in with whatever load needs some more. I guess I just don't see it as a big deal.

                                                                                        As for always remembering, for times when shopping is spur of the moment, I have 2 bags that fold up really small in the side pocket of my purse. I rarely would need more than 2 bags for an unplanned grocery trip. They always (well, usually) get returned to my purse when emptied.

                                                                                        1. re: thursday

                                                                                          I've been using reuseables for years, in theory, but I am not nearly organized enough to plan whether husband or I will be going to the store (and thus whose car to put the bags in), what day I'll be going to the store, or even how much I will be buying
                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                          Ummm....so put 5 reusable bags in each car. Then you have at least that many no matter who's doing the shopping. Mark those plastic-lined bags as MEAT ONLY bags so those can get washed.

                                                                                        2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                          Paper bags are not included. The market where I shop will never charge for the paper bags but I did visit a market the other day ( I forgot my cloth bags once again) that charged 30 cents each.

                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                            all depends on what municipality you're in.

                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                              Both shops are in the same municipality. They just do business differently. I love the market where I shop that'll never charge people for paper bags.

                                                                                          2. Well, it seems just about every suggestion has been mentioned here. In addition to all the suggestions of just having one in the trunk, I also have a bag that folds into a tiny little packet the size of a pack of tissues that I keep in my purse. I bought mine when we lived in Europe, but I see them in the US everywhere. Before bags were ubiquitous in the US, I found my own solution.

                                                                                            Sew your own bags for produce and meat.

                                                                                            I'm a big believer in finding your own solution when others don't provide it for you. I have never been under a ban of any sort, but have hated for many years all of the waste of plastic grocery bags. I had used cloth bags for years abroad and got used to using them. Like a previous poster, I was then the odd one at the store when I shopped in the US (and much maligned by the check out staff at most grocery stores) for many years thereafter. So, I had to come up with my own solution long before America caught up with Europe.

                                                                                            I had to make my own and did so for leaky items, as well. At the fabric store, I bought some remnant material and material that is used to line things like tablecloths (now you can get material that they use to line diapers called PUL that is much safer to have near your food). You can put whatever fabric on the outside that you like and the PUL on the inside. It washes very easily and doesn't leak. Designate one for meats, one for fruit, one for veg. or however you want to do it. You can use an existing plastic bag as a pattern.

                                                                                            You'll get organized when you have to. Up to now you weren't forced to be organized, but will be once the ban goes into effect. Good luck!

                                                                                            Also - for the doggie doo... don't own a dog, but my neighbors use brown lunch sacks, as they don't use plastic either. I'm not sure the details, but I think I remember seeing that they just turn it inside out, then use the sack as a "glove" to pick up the doo and then turn it right-side-out.

                                                                                            1. It seems I'm not the only one concerned, however- I've been googling "reusable waterproof grocery bags" "grocery bag meat" "foodsafe waterproof bag," etc. for literally about 4 hours now, and most of the hits are not products or sellers, but stories like this:
                                                                                              http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/...

                                                                                              Wash your bags, people! One study found salmonella, e. coli and the like in EVERY BAG tested save one.

                                                                                              1. I currently do not use my reusable bags as I have 3 dogs, and plastic bags come in handy. I also use my dry cleaning bags (knotted) and larger plastic bags as trash bags, and rarely do I need to buy the Seventh Generation ones. When I did use reusable bags, I kept them in the car, so they were always there. When I emptied them, they went to the door to go out on my next trip.

                                                                                                I also buy from here: http://www.dogpoopbags.com/

                                                                                                1. So I know I started this post, but a coworker of my husband's just gave me a great idea! So I thought I'd share-
                                                                                                  He keeps a large Costco-type box in his trunk, along with a couple of pieces of large tupperware. Instead of bringing bags into the store, he rolls the food out to the trunk, loads it into the box, and puts the meat in the tupperware so it can be rinsed/washed out. No bags to remember, no salmonella floating around his trunk! I can't fit the Cotsco box in my jeep, but I like the thought of at least keeping some tupperware in the back for transporting leaky meats...

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: thursday

                                                                                                    along that line - when we had a pool, I'd bought a black plastic tray for setting the jugs of chlorine in to keep them from spilling and bouncing all over the trunk.

                                                                                                    Even after we switched to powdered chlorine, I kept that bin because it was **awesome** for corralling anything that might leak -- if something did leak, 30 seconds with a hose and dried in the sunshine...Easy stuff.

                                                                                                  2. Get a box each of gallon and 2-gallon zipper bags and keep a couple in your reusable cloth bags. Put meat or anything else leaky into them first. They can be washed with soapy water and hung to dry. Wash and dry inside out.

                                                                                                    My dog uses my yard, but I have a friend with a large dog who takes sheets of newspaper, folded in half, along on their walks. When she sees that the dog is about to assume the position, she slips the newspaper onto the ground. Then she folds it up and puts it into a plastic bag that she empties into the outdoor garbage can at home. That single plastic bag lasts a long time and could theoretically be washed out if there's ever a ban. Or a paper bag with handles could be used - though it's larger than need be, and impractical in rainy weather.

                                                                                                    To pick up poop, save the bags from chips, frozen vegetables, etc., and use those.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      I use (he said, blushing) the plastic bags my newspapers will certainly continue to come wrapped in to pick up dog poo. Yup, the glove-into-bag thing. She doesn't take walks anymore, and never would go potty when doing that anyway, but always waited until she got back to the yard, but we keep it picked up just to avoid unpleasant accidents. We are I believe under a legal obligation to do that here anyway, to keep runoff from the yard from adding to the pollution downstream.

                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                        have you ever tried to turn a potato chip bag inside out?

                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                          Agreed, anything made of Mylar rips. And I have a personal thing that the bag cannot be clear (no newspaper bags). I tried that, and it just doesn't work for me.

                                                                                                          Far from wishing to use our yard, one of my dogs prefers to save it for the very nicest St Augustine yard in the neighborhood. Hopefully the people who live there take it as the tribute it is meant to be. (I do of course pick up after her, using the opaque bags I prefer ...)

                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                            a couple of paper towels inside the bag takes care of the opacity issue....but yeah, I'm with you on the visibility issues.

                                                                                                      2. wear a bookbag. store a couple smallish bags in it. walk where you will, shop when you want.

                                                                                                        1. I take my own to the market as I have collected them by the boatload for years.
                                                                                                          I use them for dog poo, but husband picks their poo up using a shovel then into a container stored until garbage day. believe it or not, our 'x' chiropractor used his dog poo in his tomato garden to upify his lot of maters.

                                                                                                          when the ban goes into effect in California, I suppose I'll use cling wrap or sandwich bags for the poo and big zipper bags in the 2 1/2 gallon size for meats bought at market.

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                            Where I live the housekeepers are told to wipe the dogs behind after they do their job so the maids are out there with rolls of paper towels and dog poop bags.
                                                                                                            It's all rather gross.

                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                              A bucket of water and suds might help, too. That might help keep the car seats where the the dogs' behinds sit; i.e., where the shoppers place their bags, then onto the check-out station.

                                                                                                              What about the big white or black 'kitchen' bags, can they be taken to the grocery stores to be used in place of cloth bags? I'm thinking of the look on the first check-out person's face who sees anyone loading their itemsinto one of those big black bags, and then with the little red tie around their wrist, dragging it across to the exit, then they watch in amazement as it is taken to load into the back seat or wherever they unload it.

                                                                                                              'tis funny to think about, but cleaner than those rag bags.

                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                I can just imagine the looks on my dogs' faces if someone was following them around doing that!! I find they rarely need my help, except with the picking up. They just can't seem to get the hang of that ...

                                                                                                              2. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                I see dog clean up bags at the pet store and big box stores all the time. If you are going to have to buy sandwich bags for the job, they are probably worth looking for.

                                                                                                                I don't know all of the specifics of the CA ban, but I've been to stores in other places with bag bans, and they still have produce bags you can use for drippy meat if needed.

                                                                                                              3. I have noticed a geographic difference in the use of plastic grocery bags. In Arizona, where the cashier typically bags the groceries, many more plastic grocery bags are used. I've seen cashiers put as few as three items into on plastic bag. In the Twin Cities, where typically the customer bags their own groceries, far fewer plastic bags seem to be used. There also is a choice between paper and plastic and more paper bags are used in Minnesota. We recycle both the plastic bags and paper bags and usually we bring several cloth bags to pack the groceries.

                                                                                                                1. I just can't shake the image in my mind of range rover driving, multi-million dollar house living, wolf range cooking, flying to france for dinner, folks being all smug about saving the planet via reusable grocery bags.

                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                    "i just can't shake the image..."

                                                                                                                    No offense but what are you talking about?

                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                      I'm sure it's about some carbon footprint crap. I'm sure my family could be doing more to 'save the planet' but recycling is one way to at least reduce the amount of physical mass of stuff, especially stuff that does not decompose all that fast, from getting into the landfill in the first place. Our recycler recently, I think it was last spring, started to accept most plastics. The plastic tubs from sour cream and cottage cheese, deli trays, prescription bottles and other plastics did not used to go into the recycle bin for us.

                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                        <I'm sure it's about some carbon footprint crap.>

                                                                                                                        I'm sure you're right about this but it's always al little difficult to figure out it out when people don't just come to the point and say it outright.
                                                                                                                        The assumption that people who 'have it all' aren't conscience is, literally, ignorant. But, more to the point, what you're saying about methods of recycling, has always been confusing to me. Municipalities vary in their approach and I've never been able to receive anything remotely logical when it comes to their answers about what fits the definition of what they expect.
                                                                                                                        Where I live we have (2) different bins....one for garbage the other for recycling, Two years ago they just decided to blend the two and there went the recycling. When questioned, they simply stated that they pick up the two and workers go through the whole thing and separate everything. I grew up with a mother/father who were ahead of the times when it came to all of this and so I'm used to it and recycling has always been a part of my life. Years down the line formal recycling became a big thing and there were those who naturally took it more serious than others. A city, where I once lived with relatively small population, took it very seriously and imposed a mandatory recycling code and anyone not following the law was heavily fined. The city eventually rid itself of the law, because of all the bureaucracy that went with it, and now everyone chooses/not chooses to do it and life goes on. I think people decide in their own mind what they feel is necessary, conscience wise, and get on with their life. Like another poster mentioned....when we see recycled materials (that people take the time and effort to separate, being picked up by garbage waste trucks, then it creates cynicism and people like me and the poster wonder 'what's the use?'

                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                          Are you actually saying that your municipality told you to put the trash AND recycling together in the same bin? I do not understand that at all. Years ago we had to keep our recycling separate, that is paper bagged up, plastics bagged up, cans bagged up (I guess they used a magnet to separate the food cans from beverage cans), but for the last ten years or so all recycling goes into one big bin and they separate it.

                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                            Some municipalities have started telling residents to just put it all in one bin. The thought process is that they have to hire workers to check that the recycling is sorted properly anyway, so they may as well just do all of the sorting behind the scenes.

                                                                                                                            My county just recently announced single stream recycling - we still have to separate garbage from recyclables, but we don't have to sort recyclables. Prior to the switch we had to put paper in one bin and glass/plastic/metal in another. Up until 5-6 years ago, we had to separate plastic, aluminum/steel, blue/green/clear glass, and brown glass.

                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                              <Are you actually saying that your municipality told you to put the trash AND recycling together in the same bin?>

                                                                                                                              Yes, that is what I'm saying.

                                                                                                                      2. re: kengk

                                                                                                                        but there are far more of us who drive ordinary cars and live in ordinary houses, cooking ordinary food on ordinary appliances --

                                                                                                                        -- and quite a few more who are making conscious efforts.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                          It's a little like being smug about the many more regular people who are at least trying to do a *little* something about recycling, don't you think?

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            Or....another way of looking at it is the idea that regular folks are being a little smug thinking that 'people who have everything' aren't doing a 'little' something about recycling.

                                                                                                                        2. This is the first I've ever heard of a plastic grocery bag ban. Seems totally crazy to me when paper bags are still legal.

                                                                                                                          Paper bags take four times the energy to produce as plastic. Most of that energy comes from fossil fuels.
                                                                                                                          Paper bags take 20 times as much water as plastic to produce
                                                                                                                          Paper bags use require cutting down trees, which contributes to global warming
                                                                                                                          Paper production is much more polluting than plastic. I'd rather live near a plastic factory than a paper mill any day!
                                                                                                                          Plastic is much easier to recycle, requiring about 1/10 the energy. Paper grocery bags often are contaminated with food or grease which ruins the recycling batch

                                                                                                                          Yeah, reusable bags (canvas or plastic or whatever) are better, but banning plastic while allowing paper is insane.

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                            The point is that there are no paper bags clogging our storm drains, hanging in the weeds by our rivers or floating around in our oceans. As for recycling, after it was revealed that the "recycling" receptacles of many stores in Nashville (when we lived there) were routinely emptied into the stores' Dumpsters, I sorta became cynical about the whole thing. I have been dropping my bags off at the Ralphs here in Pasadena, but I'm still not sure how much is actually recycled.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                              So they are both bad. Plastic pollutes after you have used it, paper pollutes before. Plastic pollutes when discarded carelessly, paper pollutes no matter what you do with it. Why penalize just the one? Because plastic is the most visible.

                                                                                                                              I am all for a tax on disposable grocery sacks (of any kind). Use that money for pollution prevention or cleanup. But banning one kind, especially the less polluting kind, is silly.

                                                                                                                              1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                To be fair, plastic also pollutes no matter what you do with it, not just if discarded carelessly. Production depends on non-renewable materials (petroleum by-products), and still pollutes (even if less than paper). The plastic recycling process is environmentally questionable, and bags that are "properly" disposed of in landfills still end up in the water stream.

                                                                                                                                I grew up in Weyerhaeuser country. Paper mills stink, and there is evidence that the smell alone is detrimental to the long term health of people who live nearby. BUT, most paper producers are using trees grown for the sole purpose of making paper. They are planting and harvesting trees just as farmers plant and harvest crops. It's no more fair to cite this as a cause of global warming that it would be to blame farmers who have the audacity to cut down their wheat every year.

                                                                                                                                In my book, they are equally bad in terms of production and disposal. The bag bans and taxes may technically only go after plastic bags, mostly because stores distribute far more plastic bags than paper, but the end result is that people bring reusable bags, which reduces paper bag use as well.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                  "In my book, they are equally bad in terms of production and disposal."
                                                                                                                                  Exactly my point.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                    Plastic bags that are "properly" disposed of and end up in "properly" constructed and designed landfills certainly DO NOT end up in the "water stream". (Water stream?)

                                                                                                                            2. I read an article years ago about how the process of recycling uses up TONS of fresh water, and is also a big pollution concern. I read a similar thing about using cloth diapers; the washing uses up more precious water and the chemicals used to sterilize the diapers are hugely bad. With our sound byte media, it seems impossible to ever get the entire true story about anything; however these concerns that someone had years ago sound like something to think about and I'd like to know more about them. Is our recycling passion more of a "feel good" thing; are we fooling ourselves? Maybe we should just stop making/using so much plastic....etc. If people stopped buying plastic food storage containers, for example, would that be better for our planet than making sure we put our stuff in the recycling bin?

                                                                                                                              18 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                I agree with everything you've stated....it all seems to have turned into a very political arena and who knows what the real truth is?
                                                                                                                                My milk comes in glass bottles. I refuse to purchase it in plastic because of the taste and the obvious.
                                                                                                                                When I was growing up there was very little plastic anywhere. We used waxed paper instead of those ziploc things...our toys were metal....all appliances were metal, etc.
                                                                                                                                Boycotting plastic (if it's actually possible) seems to be the answer.

                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                  re: Milk in glass bottles. I can't argue with the taste thing. That's a valid point. But the process to wash, sterilize, and refill glass bottles is actually MORE polluting than manufacturing and properly disposing of a plastic milk container.

                                                                                                                                  Plastic is cheap and ubiquitous for a reason. It isn't evil.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                    Really? Do you have any kind of citation for that claim? I have a hard time believing the glass milk bottle that get sent back to the dairy 5 miles away to be washed and reused is worse than the plastic milk jug. By that logic,we should all just use plastic dishes because it's creates too much pollution to wash dishes.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                      Well, obviously it depends on the specific situation. In your case -- very close to the dairy, sounds like a small concern that you are familiar with -- it may be more efficient to wash and reuse the glass.

                                                                                                                                      But for many people the dairy is not 5 miles away. The cost to ship glass, which is much heavier than plastic, is higher. And of course you have to ship it back, which adds to the footprint.

                                                                                                                                      http://greenopolis.com/goblog/joe-lau...

                                                                                                                                      I should have said "But the process to wash, sterilize, and refill glass bottles *can be* MORE polluting than manufacturing and properly disposing of a plastic milk container."

                                                                                                                                      If it works for you, that's great. I just have a problem with the knee-jerk reaction that a lot of people have that says "reusable/recyclable is always better for the environment than disposable" and "glass, paper, and metal are always better than plastic"

                                                                                                                                    2. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                      <Plastic is cheap and ubiquitous for a reason. it isn't evil.>

                                                                                                                                      Perhaps it isn't 'evil' but I'll go out on a limb and say it's the scourge of the earth. While hiking in the desert in 115 degree heat I've seen carelessly tossed plastic water bottles that have obviously been sitting around for a long, long time. It's a disgusting dishonor to the earth we all so desperately need to keep clean.
                                                                                                                                      Milk/cream in a bottle is the way I was raised. I take the bottle, wash it out and return it for cash to purchase more. I've never heard/read anything to confirm that my purchasing of it is more polluting than 'properly disposing of a plastic milk container'. How do you properly dispose of a plastic milk container other than putting it in the proper bin for someone else to recycle and decide how to throw it somewhere where it's STILL going to take decades to disintegrate? Sorry, but I'm sick of plastic and will go out of my way to not purchase it in any shape or form.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                        "Perhaps it isn't 'evil' but I'll go out on a limb and say it's the scourge of the earth. While hiking in the desert in 115 degree heat I've seen carelessly tossed plastic water bottles that have obviously been sitting around for a long, long time."

                                                                                                                                        That's a problem with behavior, not materials. When I was a kid, drinks came in cans with pull tabs. We couldn't go barefoot in the park for fear of cutting our feet on discarded beer and soda pull tabs. It doesn't mean aluminum is bad. It means littering is bad.

                                                                                                                                        Anyway, this thread has gone way off course.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                          I had completely forgotten about those darned pull tabs...Nasty, nasty cuts.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                            I'd rather see aluminum (which I don't) than those plastic water bottles.
                                                                                                                                            There's something about synthetic vs. natural that bugs me.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                              Do you realize how much electricity it takes to transform raw bauxite into aluminum? It also takes energy to melt down aluminum to be recycled and then transport it to the manufacturing facilities that use it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                There is no such thing as "natural" aluminum. Although it is the most common metal on the planet, it does not exist in "ore" form. It has to be extracted (manufactured, processed) from various other ores, such as the bauxite mentioned by John E.. Aluminum is no more "natural" than plastic, which comes from petroleum, which comes from animals.

                                                                                                                                                But no one can argue with opinions. If you don't like plastic you don't like plastic.

                                                                                                                                                This thread was about plastic bags and meat. I regret taking it off course.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                  (nobody mines or harvests glass bottles, either, while we're going there...it takes some pretty serious BTUs to produce or recycle glass...and most facilities won't just wash the bottles -- they'll send them to be crushed and reformed.)

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe we should go back to goat skins....

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                    "Maybe we should go back to goat skins..."

                                                                                                                                                    HA! I've had that thought several times during this thread!!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                      Do you have any idea how much goats have to eat before there are large enough to become a grocery bag? ;)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                        Do you have any idea how much fertilizer a goat produces before it gets large enough to become a grocery bag?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          AND, you can fertilize your garden naturally, as well!!!;)

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                          No reason to pollute with a lawn mower if you have a goat!!! ;)

                                                                                                                                                        3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                          local dairy has >$3 deposit on bottles.

                                                                                                                                                        4. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                          My guess is that most threads are taken off course. IMO it's what makes them interesting, in the long run. I guess we all choose when we've had enough.
                                                                                                                                                          As far as my 'natural vs synthetic' comment. I'm fully aware of what defines plastic and what defines aluminum and I'll still go there and defend my position.
                                                                                                                                                          You like plastic, I don't. I believe there's a strong support of the idea/fact that when plastic was mainstreamed into our lifestyles it began the demise of our world the way we knew it. Just my opinion.

                                                                                                                                            2. Poopbags.com has biodegradable poop bags. I've been using them for years. My neighborhood pet store has some biodegradable ones, too.

                                                                                                                                              1. I'm so glad those single use plastic bags are on their way out!
                                                                                                                                                They won't hold more than 4 items without splitting open or flopping over and spilling everything.

                                                                                                                                                The only thing I find them useful for is to pack my husband's lunch.
                                                                                                                                                In a grungy work truck, every type of lunch box comes home blackened and ugly by the end of the first week.

                                                                                                                                                I must confess I have rarely bought leaky meat.
                                                                                                                                                Produce bags as I understand it are not banned.

                                                                                                                                                I worked one summer cleaning up old dump sites so I know what a hazard single use grocery bags are.

                                                                                                                                                As for bringing my own shopping bags it just took a bit of practice to get in the habit of keeping them in the car and transferring them from the kitchen to the car.

                                                                                                                                                1. Some stores have limited resuse bags that are good for the short term. I use them for anything that possibly leak and they store compactly in my purse.