Green Thought Thursday: The Abominable Plastic Grocery Bag

By Posted in - Sustainability on February 24th, 2011

If you leave your resuable grocery bags by the door, you won\’t forget them!

If you’re an avid follower of the News & Observer’s blog The Green Scene, then you might have caught this, too. Japanese inventor Akinori Ito has created a device that will turn all of those abominable plastic shopping bags into gasoline!

Are you as excited as I am? This means there’s a place besides the landfill for the reported 500 billion to 1 trillion bags used each year!

With a $10,000 price tag, though, I won’t have my hands on one of these babies any time soon. In the mean time, here are a few ways to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic grocery bags:

– While waiting to check out, bag your own groceries. If you do it yourself, you’re more likely to pack more groceries into one bag.
– I may sound like Captain Obvious here, but shop with reusable grocery bags. The best part is that you can usually snag a few for free during fairs, expos and school functions.

– Don’t have enough reusable grocery bags? Bring back your old plastic bags! They’re most likely good for another round or two of shopping before they give out.
Scoop your poop! No bag is a better size for picking up doggie waste than a plastic grocery bag. Even the little bags you can buy at the pet store aren’t cutting it for ‘ol Charley boy!
Pack your lunch in a plastic bag. It’s what I’ve had to do since I’ve completely destroyed two lunch boxes.
Donate your bags. Food banks, dog parks and thrift stores often rely on these donations!

– Figure out where you can recycle plastic bags in your area. I recommend searching on They have compiled a list of places in each city where you can drop off not only plastic bags, but also things like cell phones, batteries and ink cartridges.
Encourage your local grocer to switch to 100% compostable plastic bags if they’re not using them already.

I know there’s a million other little ways to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic bags, and we want to hear them! Tell us how you’re keeping the planet green, one grocery bag at a time. We’ve got a special prize in store for our favorite greenie! Just submit your entries in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for the winner…



(2) awesome comment(s)...

  • Shelby McMennamy - Reply

    February 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I switched over to reusable totes a year or so ago but still have quite a large inventory of plastic bags. As a doggy mommy of two, I use my stash of bags for back yard clean up duty – or is that doodie? 😉

  • Nathan Carr - Reply

    February 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    We use plastic bags to cover our shoes in the winter when going from the front door to the car. We also use them as packing material for Christmas ornaments and when we ship breakables.

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