A better (greener) option for groceries and gifts

A better (greener) option for groceries and gifts

Over the last few months, I’ve been feeling so convicted about the waste that our family produces. One of the areas that has been really getting to me is bringing home 5 (or 10) plastic bags when I come home from the grocery store. Of course, I save them and try to re-use them, but whether I use them once or 4 times, ultimately they still end up in the same place. The trash.

It just doesn’t feel like God-honoring, good stewardship to me.

I’ve recently started using some great cloth grocery bags, sold by a local store. Although I don’t always remember perfectly, I am trying to either keep the bags in the car, or somewhere obvious so that I will grab them as I am running out the door to go shopping.

One thing that I really like about using these bags is that they are so much stronger than a regular, plastic shopping bag. They can handle as much as I want to put in them, so my ability to carry them is really the only limitation!

After I had been using these bags for awhile, I came upon a serendipitous find at the same store one day. It was early January and they were still clearing out their seasonal items, and I saw some boxes, filled with something I didn’t recognize, but marked at only $0.25 each, so I just had to go and look.

Turns out that these boxes were filled with reusable, cloth gift bags! Ever heard of that before? Neither had I!

Now, I am the type of person that saves every single gift bag and piece of tissue paper from gifts that I receive, carefully stores them in my linen closet, and reuses them when I need to wrap a gift. I almost never actually go to the store to buy gift wrap of any sort.

But ever since I read a post about Christmas wrapping over at The Lean Green Family, even that didn’t feel quite good enough to me (although I will continue to reuse whatever bags, etc. that I am given, as this only makes sense, economically and otherwise).

So when I realized these were intended to be gift bags that would be given, and then given again, and then again, without ever getting crinkled or ripped or too unsightly to be appropriate to give any longer, I was thrilled!

The bag is not as big as it looks, but would hold several regular sized books, or a child’s outfit, or some toiletry items. It is sturdy, made of cloth, and sewn to last. There were also wine bags, with drawstring tops, although you could use them for so many things other than just wine.

I bought 4 in this all-purpose design, and 4 in a Christmas design. Looking back, since they were only $0.25, I wish I had bought many, many more.

I think these are such a wonderful idea, because gift wrapping is so short lived, and dealing with all of the paper trash at Christmas this year actually made me feel sick to my stomach. I’m going to keep my eyes out for more great (and green) gift-giving options, because a cute gift, without the waste, works for me.

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  1. What an awesome idea! This year for Christmas I wrapped some gifts in fabric to save on paper, the fabric added to the gift as well. I also love using baskets to “wrap” gifts. I have even made a “purse” for someone to use as a gift bag too. So many great ideas out there! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have seen these cool bags, but I haven’t bought any yet. I REALLY should. And, I didn’t know they made GIFT BAGS too! Very cool!

  3. We are also striving to go green to the glory of God! I love your blog, and have many of your same books on my shelf. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. I have a few cloth bags that I’ve used for gifting! I LOVE them!!! I wish I could sew b/c I would make a bunch and use them constantly! I’m jealous you found some so inexpensively!!

    I have some re-usable grocery bags, but I always forget to bring them to the store 🙁

  5. That was a great find. I have seen cloth gift bags before but not often. We have some homemade cloth gift bags that we use. I also use a lot of other recycled stuff for presents.
    I really have been feeling convicted about the need to reduce the waste in our lives.
    I have some homemade bags to use at the grocery store as well but I have been having a very hard time remembering them.
    Thanks for the post.

  6. The other great thing about these bags is that some stores give you a discount for bringing your own bags! Frugal and earth friendly!

    I have bags I bought from a local health food store–I bought 5 when they were 50% off and they carry triple what a plastic grocery bag does–all the cashiers always comment on them!

  7. Another option are Chico bags (www.chicobag.com). They fold up into a small pouch, and fit easily into a purse or handbag. I like to carry one in my bag at all times, so I’m never caught without a reusable bag.

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