Reusing Ideas for the Grocery Store

As you may know, Danny and I relocated to Colorado over the summer.  We are LOVING our new home and we are loving seeing the majority of our neighbors and fellow residents loving our environment the way they do.  Not only is the whole state filled with beautiful, natural wonders, but it's also home to many people who enjoy nature and regularly play outside.

As a result (...maybe?), the people we've met seem to be a little more in tune with how what we each do in our day-to-day life affects the planet and our relationship to it.  This is not to say that people didn't also realize this in Richmond, VA or Buffalo, NY (my previous homes, or anywhere else...), but it seems particularly obvious here; it is almost as if no one doubts the importance of conservation, sustainability, and mindfulness, which is exciting and refreshing.

One reason I've come to this conclusion is the many towns and cities across the state that charge for "single-use" bags--plastic or paper.  Because paper bags are also major energy-consumers and polluters, they are on the chopping block as well.  This is something I am really excited and supportive of; we need to think globally and come together to help heal the planet.  And if switching to a reusable bag system to save a dollar each grocery trip is what does it, I'm ok with that.  As I've suggested, reusable bags, in my opinion, are the best solution.

If you're interested in getting started with reusable bags, check out Ditch the Plastic Bag We've gotten ours from various stores, including Goodwill, our local yoga studio, and even free from the veterinarian!  If you look around, you can find them for a really reasonable price!

And/ or check out my Reusable Bag Tips video below:

Having the bags in the car really helps me to remember them, especially if I decide to stop at the store on a whim.  One thing I neglected to mention in the video is important while you're in the store.  If you've tried to make the switch to reusable bags, you know just how much space they take up in the cart.  As Danny is a former fire fighter and lover of gadgets, we have carabiners on EVERYTHING, including the reusable grocery bags.

Here's what we do:

- stuff all of the bags into one, extra-sturdy bag
- attach a carabiner to the handle of the main (extra-sturdy) bag
- when you get a cart, clip the carabiner to the outside of the cart, under the handle

This way, as you shop, you don't have to arrange your items around the bags in the cart; they just dangle outside of the basket.

And, since moving here, we've been able to begin shifting to buying in bulk!  (This is exciting, because most stores in the Richmond area did not offer bulk items.)  In the bulk section, we can buy rice, dried beans, seeds, nuts, and spices.  I have begun reusing both the bulk bag labels as well as the thin plastic bags.

Here's what we do:

- after arriving home, remove each of the bulk bag labels (for us, these go into the front pocket, pictured below) to reuse next time you shop
- if you have reusable containers for your items, relocate the seeds/ nuts/ rice/ beans
- reserve the easily-cleanable bag, maybe rinsing or shaking it out, for the next grocery trip (Note: some bulk items, such as spices, may be difficult to clean out entirely for reuse at the store; with these, I rinse and reuse the bag at home.)
- place the bulk bag labels and thin bulk bags into the sturdy reusable bag for reuse

Do you have any additional ideas for reusing at the grocery store?  If so, please comment below or on Facebook.

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