Save Money: Use Cloth Shopping Bags.
FREE BAG GIVEAWAYS:
Target: On Wednesday, February 1, Target will be giving away a free reusable bag to the first 200 guests at each of its 16 locations. Target opens at
Whole Foods: On Wednesday, February 1, Whole Foods
will distribute 1,000 free reusable bags, one per customer, to each of their first shoppers at each of their 12 locations
Most Targets and WFM open at 7AM during the week.
Beginning February 1, 2017 all Chicago retailers, regardless of size, will start charging customers 7 cents for every plastic AND paper bag we need to drag our crap home in.
Don’t pay $1,600 for something you throwaway
If you use 10 bags a week you can pay for a cloth bag in a couple weeks. And over a 20 year period that adds up to almost $1,600. Do you really want to pay $1,600 for something that you throw in the garbage?
It’s easy to use cloth bags
If you aren’t in the habit of using cloth bags here’s how I’ve been doing it for years. I keep a large paper bag shopping bag in the trunk of my car that contains all of my cloth grocery bags except a couple I keep upstairs for daily walking around use.
When I drive to the store I drag a pile in. Once I’m home and unpacked I fold them up and put them by the door. The next time I go out I stop by my car and put them back in the trunk.
For daily use, when I’m walking around, I carry two in my backpack. I remove the hard plastic inserts and roll them up. Voila.
Get the right size
I prefer bags that are roughly the dimension of traditional brown paper shopping bags around 15″H x 12″W x 8″ deep. I prefer bags with handles that are at least 24 inches long so I can put them over my shoulder even when wearing a thick coat. When shopping for bags online you should double the number retailers list as handle length to get full length.
Bags with shorter handles have to be carried in your hand which can be a pain particularly when walking with heavy loads. If you shop exclusively in your car then it doesn’t matter. I also prefer darker color bags to hide stains. I hand wash them once a month or so.
There is still plastic – for free
If I’m buying meat, something that leaks like a container from the olive bar or sticky like frozen oj I get them to wrap those items is a tiny plastic freezer bag so I don’t contaminate or gunk up my cloth bags.
Where to get bags on the cheap
Look for freebies.
Every bag I have was a giveaway. I’m still using bags from Dominicks. I’ve gotten them at conferences, store openings, free public giveaways, an Alderman event, etc. Also if you’re buying several hundred dollars worth of stuff it doesn’t hurt to ask them to throw in one cloth bag for free. Those bags are, after all, free advertising for the retailer.
Most retailers sell more than one type of bag ranging in price (and quality) from a buck to $10. Heavy canvas bags with thick hard inserts may not tip over in your truck but they are heavy.
The Container Store bags are $1.49-$1.99 These bags have a laminated interior so I schlepped in when I was across the street and bought a couple. They are fabulous.
Amazon Prices vary by vendor.
Oriental Trading Company $14.99 per dozen plus $6.99 shipping =$1.83 each. Search for promo codes and check here.
Reuseit.com Chicago-based manufacturer offers some more stylish bags. Their Workhorse Original Reusable Bag for $5.95 gets good reviews. If you buy 10 they’re $4.76 each plus tax and shipping. Sign up for email and get $10 off your first order of $50 or more.