Since we're all supposed to be doing our part saving the earth I'd like to talk about those ugly cloth bags that every grocery store is selling nowadays. About the same size as a brown paper grocery bag, they cost around a dollar and are most likely made in China. You buy a bunch, stuff them full of your groceries, hope they don't fall apart as you're crossing the parking lot to your car, and most importantly, you're supposed to bring them back to the store to reuse them. The theory is that it cuts down on the use of paper or plastic bags and therefore cuts down on waste. Not to mention that 1.) the stores no longer have to provide as many free bags for their customers but get to charge for bags instead and 2.) you can look like a very stylish, greener-than-thou soccermom as you put the bags into the back of your gigantic SUV.
Sounds good. Makes sense. Right?
Maybe not. These reusable, "eco-friendly" bags probably create more waste. Think about it: some company has to manufacture the cloth bags, package them, pack them in boxes, ship them to the stores...and then, if you buy them, you still have to buy regular garbage bags anyway (more manufacturing, packaging, shipping, etc). Instead of reusing the free plastic bags already provided by the store, you are paying for plastic bags that you are just going to throw away. Talk about wasteful.