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Urban Woodswalker

Hey, I still get confused looks from cashiers when I say "No plastic bag...thank you." Sometimes, I will just walk out of the store with the one or 2 items in my bare hands...with the receipt prominently visible that is.

I also have seen them start to bag my groceries, despite my own bag is sitting right there...due to busy checkouts, and they are not mindfully focused.

You mention that bags sold by the checkout counter. Yes, I suppose they are a better solution then nothing...but most often those are plastic polyester fiber...and they get worn, and wind up in landfills after many uses too. They are not recyclable.

I had bought several of them over the past few years before I got wiser. I have seen how most wear poorly and don't have much of an extended life. I believe they are just yet another way for the plastics industry to "appear green." There are 2 kinds...those fabric feeling ones (polyester fabric) ...they do not wear long or well. Then the plastic totes...which are just thicker plastic bags...often times with cool graphics we all are drawn to at a moments notice.

In the end they all are plastic...and all are not recyclable.. I wonder just how many of these...wind up in landfills each year too? Sure, using them cuts down on the "free" store plastic bags...but I feel we are duped into feeling we are going green...when we are just STILL using plastic bags...only we PAY for them!

Give me a canvas bag I can throw in the washing machine...it lasts decades. It can be patched up.

Thanks for yet another great post Joy.


In Portland, there is an ordinance that the stores can not hand out plastic bags for groceries (though produce bags are still okay) so everyone brings their own reusable bags or occasionally uses a paper bag. But when I was in Montana this summer, I got a lot of weird looks when I just wanted to put my groceries in my backpack.

Urbanwoodswalker - Great thoughts on plastic reusable bags. I hadn't even thought of that, but you're right, they get worn out fast especially if you run them through the washing machine occasionally. I have two canvas bags; will be using them for groceries from now on!

Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com

I wish more places were like Portland on the eco-front! I just got some reusable produce bags last month. Now those are getting the semi-odd stares, but I don't really care. Hopefully, they'll be commonplace someday, too. The plastic produce bags were really adding up at our house, and they're relatively useless for reusing (too thin).

Joy @ JoyfullyGreen.com

Good point on the bags. I have so many canvas bags from events that I do use those, in conjunction with the plasticized reusable grocery bags. The other problem with the latter is that they can harbor bacteria/germs/other nasties from the foods you put into them. They should be swabbed down with disinfectant from time to time. You're right--canvas is best because they can be machine-washed.

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Green Books for Children

  • Igor Siwanowicz: Animals Up Close

    Igor Siwanowicz: Animals Up Close
    See review under Green Books, 11/12/2012

  • Helen Frost: Step Gently Out

    Helen Frost: Step Gently Out
    For commentary, see "Savoring the Last of Summer" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Leo Lionni: Frederick [English Edition]

    Leo Lionni: Frederick [English Edition]
    For commentary, see "Savoring the Last of Summer" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Terry Allan Hicks: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Tell Me Why, Tell Me How)

    Terry Allan Hicks: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Tell Me Why, Tell Me How)
    For commentary, see "Appreciating Autumn" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Betsy Maestro: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2)

    Betsy Maestro: Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2)
    For commentary, see "Appreciating Autumn" post in Nature & Wildlife.

  • Alison Inches: I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (Little Green Books)

    Alison Inches: I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (Little Green Books)
    "One little monster learns to reduce, reuse, and recycle." That's all good, of course, but my own children laugh out loud every time they read how Max the Little Monster (before his attitude adjustment) clogs up the toilet with too much toilet paper, yelling "Hungry Toilet!" Kids...they just love the potty humor. Made from 100% recycled paper.

  • Julia Rawlinson: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

    Julia Rawlinson: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
    This book is incredibly sweet. A sensitive, little fox named Fletcher cannot understand what is happening to his beloved tree at the onset of autumn, and he tries everything in his power to keep the leaves on the tree. When he wakes up one winter morning to find his tree covered in dazzlingly beautiful snow crystals, it chokes me up every time. Although it's not about saving the earth, the book is a lovely tribute to nature and its seasons.

  • Diane Muldrow: We Planted a Tree

    Diane Muldrow: We Planted a Tree
    I love how this relatively new book (published in 2010) is charmingly illustrated in the same style as those Little Golden Books from the 1960's. In simple prose, the book explains what happens when you plant a tree and watch it grow, while enjoying the benefits of fruit, shade, budding flowers, and cleaner air.

  • Dr. Seuss: The Lorax (Classic Seuss)

    Dr. Seuss: The Lorax (Classic Seuss)
    This book is a classic for a reason. As I was reading it for the first time to my children, I could see the shock and sadness on their faces when the very first Truffula Tree was chopped down. Unlike the progression of The Curious Garden (see below), things just keep getting worse--all in the name of "progress." It ends with a powerful message: "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Great for generating conversations with young children about caring for and protecting natural resources. Printed on recycled paper.

  • Peter Brown: The Curious Garden

    Peter Brown: The Curious Garden
    First, I have to admit it: As a mom, I'm *slightly* bothered that a little boy is walking around a creepy city all by himself, and "stumbles upon a dark stairwell" which he decides to head up. However, this book is simply magical, so I'll chalk it up to "willing suspension of disbelief" and let it go. With each page, as Liam grows from a novice gardener into a Green Thumb Extraordinaire, the dreary city in which everybody stays inside becomes a green utopia that everybody enjoys. Liam helps the whole city to bloom, and changes the mindsets of its citizens, simply by taking the first steps and sticking to his mission--without any preaching whatsoever. My favorite parts are the multiple spreads with no words at all, which depict how the gray, dirty city is growing greener and cleaner with the passage of time, thanks to our hero. Printed on recycled paper.

Green Books for Adults