So, yesterday I cleared out the cupboard shelf where I had been shoving plastic grocery bags for just about one year in the hopes that someday they would complete their journey to the market’s recycle bin.

I knew there would be quite a few bags in that cupboard but was definitely not expecting the colony of flimsy petroleum-based creatures that emerged from its depths! Juliana and I gleefully tossed, swung and stuffed wads into the kitchen trash bag. Yes, we jam-packed an entire 13 gallon bag! Ok, ok I know it’s lame that I had saved these for an entire YEAR before doing this but I’m kind of glad I did just to see the impact of what we actually consume. Keep in mind this trove did not include those bags that were tossed throughout the year or re-used…that may have double the number!

With this realization I’ve become more interested in converting over to reusable grocery bags. I have a few but not enough for an entire shopping trip. I really like these but could use anything really. I think I may feel a little weird refusing the plastic bags the first few times here in our lower income, mostly immigrant neighborhood market. But hey I’ll get over it AND I’ll have a whole empty cupboard! Oh yeah and I’ll be helping the cause (check out the plastic bag consumption ticker on that site, crazy!).


15 thoughts on “baggage

  1. Mimi

    Our grocery store has been selling great canvas bags (with bottoms so they stand and handles) for .99 each. Did you want me to pick some up for you?

  2. Linsey

    I had planned on making my own brown paper bags out of oil cloth but never actually got around to it. Then there are the ultra chic “This is not a plastic bag” sold at Whole Foods (limited edition). The yuppy in me wants one (or two, or three). But I think hipsters across the globe use them as totes and stuff. Maybe thats what they are for? I dunno.

  3. Michelle Verges

    Thanks, Arielle, for posting the link to my blog! :0)

    Last August, I did the very same thing you did. That is, empty out my kitchen cabinet, which was stuffed with plastic bags. I was appalled by the number of bags I amassed: 71 bags. (I’ve since learned that’s a low number.) On average, each person consumes approximately 1500 plastic bags each year! And here’s another statistic: According to the EPA, the U.S. alone consumes about 380 BILLION plastic bags each year!!

    Long story short, I developed a project raising public awareness on the consumption of plastic bags in my statistics course. (More info about this project can be found on the conserve plastic bags blog).

    On a personal note, I remember making the decision to stop using plastic bags. I also wondered how I would be perceived (am I some kind of weirdo for refusing a plastic bag?). But you know what? It really doesn’t matter. So what if I get a strange look from a cashier–that’s only because I’m doing something that’s slightly out of the ordinary…so be it. I’ve done stranger things in my life!

    Anyway, it’s good to know there are other folks who are making these practical lifestyle changes to preserve our environment. Keep up the good work!


    PS: And yes, is a great place to buy canvas totes!

  4. Julie

    Great thoughts! I know our Earth Fare (similar to Whole Foods) also has .99 bags for sale and boy it felt good to bring those through the checkout line. Trader Joes also has some pretty good ones if you’re interested. Yea!

  5. momma

    How funny…just this week before reading this, I tossed a few Trader Joes reusable bags into my trunk for future use! I can just picture J’s eyes when she saw all of those bags emerge from the pantry and how much fun she had with you right then! And now you have extra storage space where the plastic bags once lived :)

  6. Rashelle

    Trader Joe’s has a really great bag for only $5.99. It’s over a foot deep and more than 20 inches in length and the entire thing is insulated. It really carries quite a bit, one works well for my small family. $5.99 is worth not having those horrible plastic bags pile up in your cupboard and if enough people refuse them maybe they will stop making them…

  7. liz in seattle

    I got a great big woven plastic bag at Ikea for $0.59. It makes a perfect beach bag. I also have some of the plastic TJ’s bags in my car, but I forget to take them inside whenever I go shopping LOL.

  8. Ali Ganahl


    I love this blog, was looking for your email address but didn’t see it. so I am adding a comment to say hi : ) My parents are in La Habra now too. Would love to catch up. (

    Oh and another bonus for shopping at trader joes and bringing your own canvas bags, they enter your name in a raffle for a free bag of groceries. I like raffles.



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