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6 Ways to Make Reusable Bags Even Greener

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6 Ways to Make Reusable Bags Even Greener

By Blythe Copeland, Planet Green

With shoppers coming home with more than 1 million plastic bags per minute, we all know that cutting back by using fabric bags is an easy way to stop litter. But how much good are those bags actually doing you? If you’re not keeping them clean, choosing sustainable materials, or finding smaller sizes for produce, then you might not be making as much of an impact as you think.

1. Choose Your Materials Carefully

If you’re on a mission to give up plastic bags, then shouldn’t you make sure that your replacement totes are made from sustainable materials? Reusing the plastic bags you already have at home is one solution; also, look for bags made from recycled plastic, organic cotton, hemp, or even polyester or polypropylene (as Pablo pointed out on TreeHugger, the difference in the impacts of canvas, polyester, and polyproylene are minimal compared to the positive difference they make compared to plastic). And make sure you find a grocery tote that’s durable enough to haul home all your food on trip after trip—so you don’t wind up needing to replace them after just a few uses.

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Smart Shopping, , ,

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Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.


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11:29AM PST on Dec 19, 2013

Thanks! First of all, I need a reusable bag with a clip as I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached, and I walk or use public transport and have a small purse (extra bags in my backpack, but I don't always carry that). Fortunately I have found a few different brands that fill the bill.

Secondly, to clean them I've been spraying the bags inside and out with a 50% vinegar solution and hanging them up to dry. Is that not recommended for some reason?

Third, at a chain grocery called Carrefour (found in France and Spain and perhaps further afield, not sure, but they can't be the only ones) now carries biodegradable trash bags made entirely from vegetable starch. In addition, the bags you can buy to carry your groceries (2 euro cents each) are made from the same thing, and are smaller. We've begun to use the trash bags for the kitchen rubbish, and the other, smaller ones for recyclables and the bathroom (smaller trash can). So happy to have found these!

12:17PM PDT on Oct 24, 2013

great ideas thanks for sharing

1:08AM PST on Mar 4, 2013

some neat ideas, cool ;)

1:22PM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

Thank you.

1:22PM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

Thank you.

1:21PM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

Thank you.

1:21PM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

Thank you.

8:32AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

thanks :D

10:40AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

The only time I get a plastic bag is when I need a trash bag. Any ideas for trash bags? I bought small produce bags made from a mesh type material. My produce lasts longer in the frige. Love them. Thanks for the suggestions.

2:20AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012


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