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Mexico City Bans Bags: 6 Ways to Join In

Similar ordinances are seemingly slow to come here in the States, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help out where we can! Here’s how you can lend a hand:

1. Pack some ultra compact nylon bags (that fold up into tiny packets) in your purse so that you are always prepared for unexpected errands.

2. Stow fabric (hemp, jute, canvas, cotton, recycled plastic textile, etc) bags in your trunk for big shopping trips-—just get in the habit of returning them to the trunk after unpacking groceries.

3. Reusing plastic and paper bags helps; keep a supply of them in your trunk for groceries and use them until they are too worn, then recycle. (Many stores now offer a rebate when you BYOB.)

4. Look French and use baskets when you go to the farmers’ market. Salad doesn’t get as squashed when you put it in a round-bottomed basket.

5. If you get stuck with groceries but without your totes, pick plastic: when statistics are compared, it is the lesser of the two evils. Try to reuse it again and when it comes time to recycle it, tie it in a knot to keep it from blowing away from the trash and landfill and into the trees and ocean.

6. If you’re crafty, make a super-cute DIY knitted shopping bag (like the one pictured above).

The best advice is to simply get into the mind-set: once it becomes habit the inconvenience disappears and it seems there was never another way. The whales and turtles will thank you.

Related: Plastic Bags: Stop Being Part of the Problem (+ video), Plastic Bags: They Just Don’t Make Sense

Read more: Green Kitchen Tips, Home, Nature & Wildlife, News & Issues, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


+ add your own
7:31PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

good for them!!!!!!!!!!

7:40AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

CONGRATS to Mexico, God Bless!

6:42AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012


10:54AM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

Great news!

3:24PM PDT on May 11, 2011

It's time for other towns/cities to follow suit. Personally I prefer using my recycled market bags. They're sturdier

11:50AM PST on Feb 17, 2011

Most stores in Sweden charge you 30 cents for a plastic bag and 50 cents for a paper bag. (And, you have to pack your own stuff!) But, still, people tend to buy a new bag every time they go shopping which means lots of plastic bags all around. Many, however, use the plastic bags for the trash. I'm glad some major cities around the world are taking steps towards the elimination of plastic bags, because paper bags are re-usable for a long time and then easy to recycle. Thanks for sharing!

12:02PM PST on Feb 10, 2011

Thank you Mexico City.

12:10PM PST on Dec 23, 2010

This great to hear! Mexico City is one the largest populated cities in the world. Congratulations on being a leader. Let's get China to follow!

8:56PM PST on Dec 15, 2010

Blessedly the beat goes on. Two years until no more plastic bags anywhere, ever... Can we, could we? Yes.

8:17PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

Unfortunately, most of the people are very dirty in Mexico (all over the country) and we have a huge big problem with garbage on the streets.

Police does not enforce law and they do not apply fines to people who litters.

Plastic bags and plastic straws and disposable fast food containers are a huge problem that is going to have big costs to solve.

I hope that other cities around the world follow the example of Mexico City and San Francisco. That should help other cities and governments to follow and do the same.

Cuauhtemoc Glez., Veracruz, Ver., Mexico

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