"Canvassing" the Grocery Stores

Canvas bag from the conscientious home

A simple canvas bag is one tool that everybody can easily work into their weekly routine to make a small environmental act. There are so many routine shopping activities we find ourselves doing in the course of a week - errands to pick up flea shampoo for the dog, to find that catcher's mitt for the kid's baseball team, or pick up treats for your book club. What is one thing that these shopping expeditions frequently have in common?

Excess packaging. Namely, shopping bags!

How many occasions have you experienced where you purchased nothing but a gallon of milk from the store, just to find yourself walking out of the store with a plastic bag hanging off the end of your arm? I can't even begin to understand why a grocery clerk may provide a bag in that circumstance - what is that handle for on the gallon jug, anyway? But regardless of the reasoning, there are simple solutions.

Obviously, in the above example, the simplest solution is to refuse the bag - it's hardly necessary! However, there are frequently situations where that's not such a ready option. Thus, the wisdom of providing your own bag.

A bag you provide for yourself has many advantages - if you've constructed yourself a nice sturdy canvas or nylon bag, you have much less worry that your groceries may end up strewn about the parking lot!

Making certain you remember to take a bag with you on a quick errand is a wholly different challenge, of course. There is an advantage to having several bags - you can keep one or two in your car (if you're not using public transit, that is), keep a couple hanging by the door, and perhaps keep a smaller bag (nylon rolls up very tightly!) in your coat pocket for sudden trips.

There are many places you can acquire good canvas bags - here, I'll simply supply the pattern to make one and a link to buy one printed with theconscientioushome.net logo.


Updated by Joe Dolson on 24 August, 2009

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Traveling by bicycle (or other self-powered vehicles) is an excellent way of combining a need for daily exercise with saving fossil fuels in your transport. What do you consider a reasonable bicycle commute? (One way.)

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