Environtmental Action - BAGS

Today, October 15 has been dedicated (in Blogland) to discuss the environment. I want to consider bags and the evolution of their use in my short but everchanging life.

When I was a kid we shopped frequently and brought everything home in brown paper bags. When we had trash we put it in these brown paper bags. We put the accumulated filled brown paper bags in trash cans and the trucks would come by and dump these trash bins into the compactor. There were no plastic bags commonly used. I recall being quite surprised in 1972 when I visited Europe and saw that there were plastic shopping bags. WOW, how handy, I thought at the time. They looked cool - great colours, pretty printed logos and I was impressed that they could be reused for so many things. The paper bags were good for book covers, drawing, garbage and lining the bird cage floor but they were pretty much one hit wonders. The Europeans were trés chic.

I was surprised when I started seeing people placing large plastic bags in their garbage cans.. I thought it was redundant. Why put garbage inside something that was so sturdy and reusable for so many purposes? I suppose my 13 year old brain understood that if the plastic bags were sturdy enough to be used over and over they would be too sturdy to dissolve away into the dumps. When the stores still offered a choice, I chose paper. It seemed far more practical all around.

I wondered why people did not keep reusing those plastic bags. Should I be embarrassed or glad to admit that somehow I managed to save one of those very first plastic shopping bags that I ever received. Well, I did not really save it expressly but my Grammy did and when we cleaned out her belongings I saw it folded neatly away. She never wasted anything, she went through "the GREAT Depression".

In any case, I love bags. I have countless bags and I save them all to use them as much as possible. I have been using cloth bags for grocery shopping since the mid to late 80's (Thank you Shaklee). I have been using cloth bags for gift wrapping since the early 90's (except when the kids whined it was not as much fun at Christmas to open bags instead of wrapped parcels) and I have been sewing bags for every purpose as long as I can remember.

My greatest disappointment is the absolute waste that crappy plastic bags are - they tear open before you even get the groceries home so I avoid taking them from the store, they are useless waste of resources and do not even earn their place in the landfill by having been useful. I still however would choose paper bags were I ever to be given a choice.

And now reusable shopping bags have gone GLAM, who'da thunk it?

shhh....the packaging I love best next to bags is boxes; so multi purposeful!!


  1. Oh Wow, you've got to check out this bit about fusing plastic bags. I found it few weeks ago through WhipUp.net


    There a ton of links to different tutorials. I would like to try it myself at some point. I do like the idea of making a new grocery bag out of the old one. Some folks are way more crafty than I would have thought of...

  2. That link it too cool. I will have to try some of that technique. I can think of quite a few possibilities as far as cases, book covers, mats... Thanks so much!!!


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