The Beginning of the Bag Wars

The county where I live is gently prodding its citizens to be more responsible. Grocery stores no longer offer plastic bags to shoppers, and charge a dime for paper bags. This is a good step – encouraging us to use fewer resources; to be aware that our actions (such as buying out the chocolate aisle because its going to be a really hard week) have consequences; to become more creative.

As a quilter, I have nearly as many tote bags as I do rulers. There are patterns for buttoned bags, zippered bags, pouched bags and fancy dress bags tucked among my quilting books. I can make a basic boxed-bottom tote with the same ease that I can sew a 9-Patch.

The fancy bag collection

The fancy bag collection

And yet . . . I’m going to miss my grocery store bags. For one thing, I used both varieties. The small plastic bags were stuffed in their very own holder for use in small trash bins.

bag holder

I think this was the very first tote-like item I made, which is probably not a surprise to any of you with a passing knowledge of fabric. The piece I used for the holder came over on the Mayflower.

The paper bags are great for the trash, for transporting items to meetings (especially when I don’t need the stuff back), and for recycling shredded documents.

paper bags

My grocery shopping habits won’t change, as I’ve amassed a collection of working bags over the years and started using them when local eco-friendly groups guilted me onto a higher plane of consciousness.

The working bag collection

The working bag collection

I don’t miss the status of being greener-than-thou (or at least greener than some of my neighbors). What I will miss is the convenience of lining my small bins with free plastic bags. Also, I can foresee the time when, after enjoying the treats my friend the fabulous cook gives me after a party at her house, I will be returning not only the containers but the bag she sent them in. It’s the right thing to do, and I suspect we’ll find new ways of getting rid of the stuff we simply can’t reduce, reuse or recycle. Until then, I will mourn the bag.


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4 Responses to “The Beginning of the Bag Wars”

  1. Carol G Says:

    I’m an avid recycler but I have not started taking my own bags to the grocery store yet. Like you, I reuse most of the plastic bags and the occasional paper one. But I know it is coming so it would be a good habit to start working on.

    • Lani Longshore Says:

      Yes, as I was reminded today. I went to a store that I didn’t consider would be part of the bag-ban. The customer ahead of me didn’ have a bag, and apparently did not wish to buy a resuable bag as she carried her purchases out of the store in her arms. I had a roll-up bag in my purse, and I think I’m going to put another one in there just in case since I have a couple more in the closet!

      Lani Longshore Death By Chenille ( Broken Dishes Repertory Theatre (


  2. EZPC Recycle, Inc. Says:

    Reblogged this on SoCal's Electronics Recycling Resource.

  3. Violet Carr Moore Says:

    That must have been the store I visited! I had reusable bags in my car but entered the store empty-handed. The clerk handed me a receipt and pushed my unbagged items together. Aha! He recognized me as the shopper who never buys a bag.

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