The Green Bag Challenge

The month of May was a big one for all things grocery related. Not only did I kick off a new coupon clipping strategy (and save a whopping $17!), but I also committed to really using those reusable green bags you can buy for about a buck at just about any store. You know...the ones we all bought when they first came out then stashed in the back of our hall closets never to be seen again? Haha, I know, I know... I shouldn't speak for everyone. I've flat out failed at this waste reduction strategy, but now is the time for change. For one, our little family is at risk of drowning in plastic bags...I hate to throw them out (what a waste!), but I also don't have too many uses for 1,947 of them (approximately the number we have stuffed in our pantry cabinet, ha!) But much more importantly, "the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness" (Psalm 24:1). Since Jesus holds the deed to this place where we live, I want to take care of it a little better out of love for Him.

So, this was the challenge: Get through an entire month without bringing home a single plastic grocery bag.

And, praise God, with His help I did it! And with only three green bags, at that. All it took was a commitment. Once I made up my mind to do it, the "doing" of it was easy. I'm going to do my best to stick with it.

And this got me thinking about other things, like plastic wrap, aluminum foil, disposable napkins, paper towels, and all of those pesky plastic bags we put our fresh produce in. All very wasteful...

So, I wanted to take one more small step in saving waste. Instead of using plastic wrap or foil for the things we need to store in the fridge, why not reuse a produce bag if we can?

I have an uncooked meat loaf that I'd normally cover with plastic wrap until I was ready to cook it.

Don't laugh at the random ketchup was the last bit in the bottle.

It fits into the produce bag. Almost perfectly, actually.

A little less plastic wrap to use/throw away, and at least one more use for the produce bag. Just a simple, practical idea. Although ideally, I'll find a way to stop bringing the plastic home at all... Any ideas?

Next up:
  • Stop bringing plastic bags home from all retail stores, not just the grocery store. After all, Asher's baby bag will hold any small items I purchase, and if need be I can start bringing my green bags everywhere.
  • Find and purchase cloth napkin sets. I saw some at TJ Max not long ago, but only one small pack. I think that will be a long term plan, laundry is hard enough as it is for the time being. (We live in a hotel and use a shared basement laundry room). Plus, I need to be able to buy a good supply of matching ones all at once.
You know, I've never been super conscious about recycling. I wouldn't even consider myself to be on the "green" band wagon, at least not in the sense that I love the planet just for the sake of the planet. Heck, I've never even had plastic recycle bins (eeek!). I really just want to do my best to do all things in faith, for "whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23b). And this is one thing that God has laid on my heart recently. So ultimately, I want to please Him!


Anonymous said...

Funny you should be challenging yourself to use those wonderful green bags! Maui county is plastic bag free! Yes, even the lovely Wal-Mart on Maui does not carry plastic bags anymore. That also means us over here on Molokai are dealing with it too. At first we were like, man this is going to be bad because we used our plastic bags for trash and stuff but like you, we are swimming in them STILL! The only catch for us is remembering to bring the reusable bags! If we forget they do sell you paper bags or give you recycled boxes, otherwise you just deal with the groceries one by one! We do have the produce bags and they use small ones for your meat sometimes. What I totally didn't think about was when we went to Subway and they don't use the plastic bags for your meals anymore either! So, going bag free may not have been our choice at first, but I can see us continuing in the future!! :) We're loving the Ranch pictures and all of your blog! Asher is adorable! I'm still trying to figure out commenting. I'm not doing it right when I choose comment as google account so I'll try anonymous! :) Hope it works! You know who I am!

Sarah said...

Hahaha YES I believe I DO know who you are! Wow, Maui and Molokai are bag free?! That's wonderful! But quite hard to get used to, I'm sure. Sorry you're having so much trouble commenting...that happened to me once before, and then never again. Weird. Anyway, we miss you three! So good to hear from you! You'll be experts at reusable bagging by the end of your time there :)

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