What’s your bag, baby? Not the bags under your eyes or the emotional baggage we all carry around, the good kind of bags! I’ll tell you what mine are—cloth re-usable bags. I like to use ‘em for grocery shopping. Know why? First off, it cuts down on waste; I know my bag isn’t ending up in a landfill or piling up under my sink or in the mudroom for me to fall all over. Next, I can use it over and over, and when it gets nasty I can just throw it in the wash. Another reason—I can cram it with as many groceries as I can physically carry and not have to worry about the handles breaking resulting in damaged goods and a very frustrated me.

I don’t just use them for groceries though, oh no! I can use them for anything from library books to overnight bags for the kiddos. In the summer I use them for beach bags. Use your imagination.

Bring your own bag credit

Of course, I can’t forget to mention that when you use cloth or otherwise re-useable bags here at the Willy Street Co-op you get a ten-cent credit! May not sound like much to you but some people are pretty serious about that credit. Some people just feel good knowing they’re doing a good thing. Either way, be sure to let your cashier know you’ve brought them and how many you plan on using.

Produce bags

We carry many options for bags here at the Co-op, and you will find them in many different areas around the store. We have produce and grain bags in three sizes available in the Produce department. These are great things to have because, c’mon, how many plastic nasties have you thrown away only to contribute to our ever-increasing garbage population? I know I’ve done my fair share. I didn’t even think about using cloth for my produce before I saw someone come through the check out line with them. How cool is that? No more waste AND when they do get nasty, I can chuck ‘em in the wash.

Lunch bags

We also carry some nice little lunch bags to replace that paper bag. There are net bags that come in long or short handles in a rainbow of colors. They are great for bigger produce and bulk stuff, but you can put anything in them really. The best part about these bags is they can expand about ten times the size of your head! Fun.

Totes and recycled bags

Some of our other bag options include the classic tote with the Willy Street Co-op name and eggplant. This bag I believe is big enough to carry a small child in or small dog, but is best used for your groceries. Just be careful not to fill it heavy; some of these bags can handle more than you can. We even have these cool recycled bags that zip up into wallet sized little rectangles for easy storage.

Setting a routine

Now some of you are saying, “I never remember to bring them with me.” I know how it goes. Once I jumped on the cloth bag bandwagon, it took me a few months before I would remember every time. I would leave them hanging on the coat hooks, on the door handle, and even in the car or stroller. Finally, I got it down to the point where I didn’t even think about it.

Bringing back paper bags

I love my bags (not the bags under my eyes; that’s another article I’ll leave up to the Health and Wellness department to explain). My cloth bags rock, and I always feel bad when I forget them. Of course it still happens but at least I know that I can bring back my paper bags for a five-cent credit per bag I use. Or, bring back the mountain of them that has built up under my sink and know someone will use them.

I love that some of you are so serious about your bags. I’ve seen some of the oldest worn out paper bags come through the store, and they are still ticking ready for more. Well, that just about bags it up here. So, as the old saying goes, reduce, re-use, and recycle! The Co-op thanks you, your pocket will thank you, and Mama Earth thanks you.