Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's in the Bag

If a "sanctimommy" is a sanctimonious mom, then what do you call someone who cops a "greener than thou" attitude?


Yes, I'm a little full of myself when it comes to living green. I drive a Prius and blow the EPA estimated miles per gallon out of the gas station. I walk errands. We use those twisted compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout the house. We keep the thermostat set at 68 in the winter and 80 in the summer. We insulated the attic and installed a whole house fan. I recycle and freecycle. I've forsaken plastic water bottles. I only buy appliances and office equipment with the Energy Star seal of approval. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

The truth of the matter is that I still have a long way to go.

For example, I can't seem to get the hang of bringing my own shopping bags to the grocery store. It's not for lack of totes. I scored these five bags in one week at a YWCA event and The Women's Conference.

I love City of Hope, but I wouldn't be caught dead carrying their bright blue tote bag.

Add the freebies to my home totes, and my collection looks like this:

I find fault with every one of these bags.

This Jensen's bag is a great workhorse, but I never seem to have it in the car when I need it.

At last, I found the perfect solution at The Women's Conference. A set of these three stylish nylon tote bags from EnV sells for $24.00.

Each lightweight bag can hold the equivalent of two plastic grocery bags.

I love the colors and patterns and lack of logos.

I finally moved the bags from my closet to the car and used these totes when I shopped at Super King this afternoon.

And, yes, I think the other shoppers were a little green when they saw Altadena's newest bag lady.

Do you say "paper" or "plastic" or do you bring your own tote? Do you have a favorite?


ben wideman said...

those are pretty cool! we always try and remember our re-usable bags when we grocery shop, but they aren't as cool as that.

John said...

Very nice blog.
Great pictures. Wow...

Please visit:

Keep blogging.
Have a great weekend.

Margaret said...

I do try and bring my bags. I leave them in the trunk so I won't forget, but I still forget an awful lot. I have a variety, mostly Trader Joe's ones, but one great big one that I got in Argentina. Yes. The byo bag trend is hip even there.

Anonymous said...

They sell those cool print bags in little bags at Marz on Mission in South Pas for something like $8. I carry one in my purse at all times and love it! I also use them as hostess gifts. I also keep all my Whole Foods bags in the back of the car (they go directly back into the car as soon as they are unloaded) so all I have to do is remember at the store. Unfortunately, I am great at remembering at Whole Foods but never quite get myself in gear at Trader Joe's, etc. . . .

Thanks for the great blog!

Anonymous said...

I never actually tried to be "green" but I have had periods of poverty. Nothing makes you green faster then living by the code of waste not want not. I still ask for plastic bags but then I use them as trash liners, to wrap food and cover art projects. Oh, and I have a bunch of green bags as well for Trader Joes. Target and the 99 cent store sell bags for a buck. Unfashionable but affordable.

Michele said...

I always try to remember my re-usable bags. I have gotten in the habit of putting a few extras in the trunk for those "oops I forgot" moments. I'd say that I remember 80% of the time.

Susan C said...

Ben, good for you for remembering your re-usable bags, cool or not. Sometimes I feel bad about my bags because they're just another excuse for being a consumer. On the other hand, I think the "new environmentalism" is about combining all our values, including the desire to look cool or stylish.

Margaret, I'll bet Argentina is way ahead of us in the byob trend.

A, I passed by Marz on Mission this morning, but didn't have time to stop. I can't wait to go back there. What a great idea for a useful, stylish and moderately priced hostess gift.

PA, yea, there's nothing like being poor to turn you into an environmentalist. My grandma, who didn't have running water, collected rain water and used water from an outdoor pump. Believe me, we never wasted a drop of water.

Michele, I think 80% is an excellent average. I need to up my batting average. Getting there.

Everything Changes said...

They are beautiful.... but I gotta dog. I need all the plastic bags I can get!

fkbloona said...

I have the same habit. But i have been trying to remember to bring them. And esp. at Super King it seems that they give you a bag for every 2 items. Such waste...
Super King rocks, and I am one of those envious one. thanks for the post

Susan C said...

Hi Bloona, Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm wondering if you live in Altadena. I'm a HUGE Super King fan, except for the meat. Some good, some suspect.

Susan C said...

EC, Yea, I know what you mean about the dogs (and, in my case, cats). I use the plastic dogs for poopy scooping, litter box scooping and waste basket liners. Trying to figure out how to get around it.

SFphotocraft said...

Oh girl I am so with you! I want to bill myself as green - but damn it's hard work and you have to be organized. I am the one who the kids go behind and retrash all my recyclables. I hang my head in shame that we may be the only family at school who does not have a compost heap in our backyard.
I keep buying those canvas bags. I pack my groceries and take them home and stuff the bag in the pantry. Then the next time I swing into Whole Foods between errands, I realize my bags are at home - not in the car. So in shame I buy another bag. (Can't have those young greenies packing groceries giving me the stink eye). But then I do the same thing with that bag, take it home - shove it in the pantry - where it will live it's life.
Patrick has a t-shirt and it's speaks for me. It's Kermit the Frog and says "It's not easy being green". Maybe it is easy - maybe I am just not an organized person and maybe that is what it takes?

Susan C said...

Yea, SF, we sound alike. And I know what you mean about hanging your head when your kids go to an environmentally conscious school.

This is why I love energy efficiency in cars and appliances. It does all the thinking for me.

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