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How to Live Without Plastic Bags
1. Carry a bag that can act as a tote. Instead of trying to remember to pack a reusable bag inside the bag you normally carry, make the bag you carry work for you. Pare down how much you schlep, and move to a larger bag. Use the extra room when you're shopping. You'll always have your bag with you.
2. Don't take a bag at all.Six-pack of beer? Gallon of apple cider? Carton of soy milk? Just carry the damn thing. No need to enshroud large items in plastic. And there's a special place in hell for people who take a bag for a pack of gum. Pockets, people!
3. Learn to love the (right kind of) tote. I can't stand nylon bags that have to be stuck inside their own little pouches. Aargh! But that's just me. I prefer thin cotton bags with shoulder straps—they can be used as napkins/paper towels in a pinch, and don't take up too much room in my bag. String bags, tyvek sacks; find what works for you—you'll be more likely to use it (duh).
4. Reuse. Some stores now have bag-recycling collection by the front door: it's required by law for many businesses. If you've forgotten your reusable bag, grab someone else's recycled one as you head in to shop—at least you won't have to take another brand new plastic sack.
5. Rethink the stuff you buy. Drink more tap water and you won't have to cart around bottled water. Start getting your beer in (reusable) growlers and you won't need a bag, or a recycling bin. Quit using paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates and you'll never have to bag (or carry) them again. Buy bigger packages that won't need bagging (see No. 2, above). Try shopping like a European: instead of four-hour expeditions to stock up once a week, why not buy just what you need for the day, every day? Food will be fresher, and it's actually a lot easier to remember what you need: no giant lists, and it'll all fit into your everyday bag. And just think how jaunty you'll look carrying that baguette home on your shoulder...
Amanda Park Taylor, The Conscientious Objector