Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FREE Cloth Bags

If you've been thinking about making the move from plastic grocery bags to cloth, THIS IS THE TIME. I've been using cloth bags for groceries for six months and I can verify it's not a hassle and actually makes putting away groceries easier.

The place to start is gathering enough bags for your typical trips. In my case, that's 6-10 bags. You can buy them, but what's the challenge in that? I have more bags than I need now and I haven't paid a dime for them. I recommend gathering a variety of sizes since you want smaller ones to carry the heavier items and larger ones for bulky ones. Tip: Cloth bags make it easier to group your groceries and cut down on time you spend putting groceries away.

I started by raiding our closets. I found several really well-made bags from my childhood. We had a cooler tote I rarely used but now that carries all my freezer items. Knowing that everything bound for the freezer is in one bag makes it easier to unload that first.

I then started accepting freebie bags whenever offered at festivals. You can probably pick up a few at Earthfest on Saturday. Most companies are getting on the cloth bag band wagon and want you to sport their name wherever you go. This is a bit of a mixed blessing since many of these bags are cheap and may not last as long as others--adding to our landfill. I ask that if you don't need another cloth bag, even if it's a freebie, please don't take it.

There are also plenty of promotions where companies are giving away bags. Here are just a few:
  • On Friday, April 16 Old Navy is giving away free green shopping totes to the first 50 customers. Then you can get 50% off anything that fits in the bag! After the green totes are gone, you will get a different one for 20% off everything in it. Thanks, Adventures in Momville.

  • On Sunday, April 18 Target is giving away 1.5 million of their bags with a purchase; limit one per person. Their bags are made of recycled plastic bottles. Thanks, Coupon Mommie.

  • On Thursday, April 22 Earthfare is giving away bags to the first 200 customers. This is to celebrate their decision to remove plastic bags in all the stores from now on. We're behind you, Earthfare!

  • Kroger is sponsoring their third annual Design a Reusable Shopping Bag contest. You can go here to design a bag online from their templates and enter to win a $1000 gift card. Just for entering, a digital coupon for a free Kroger bag will be added to your Plus card. The image on this blog is my submission. Like it?

So really, there's no excuse that "you don't have any bags." I forgot mine the first few times, but it becomes second nature soon: wallet, coupons, cloth bags--check! And don't forget to bring one or two bags into other stores, even if you only need a few items: pharmacies, office stores, the library, etc.

Finally, if you need financial incentive, CVS gives you $.25 and Target $.05 for every cloth bag you use. You'll need the Green Tag for CVS; after 4 trips, you earn $1ECB. And for every green tag sold between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011 (cost: $.99), $.05 will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund, with a guaranteed contribution of $100,000. Well done, CVS! Target takes it off your total on your current purchases. It's easy, it's good for environment, and it saves you money. Now that's a good way to go green, save green.

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