In the past few months, the process has become much easier. I still occasionally end up with a plastic bag, an average of probably less than one a week, usually as a result of an unplanned shopping trip. But my awareness of wanting to avoid collect disposable bags means that I make fewer unplanned purchases and that I try to buy no more than the one portable item I spontaneously thought of so that I can turn down a bag.
It's also easier to deal with the cashiers. Some of this may be my resolution and practice. But I also think that this has become a behavior that's being encouraged in more and more stores. To wit:
- Trillian and I made a trip to Ikea this past weekend. In the US, they are now charging for plastic bags; I felt left out then. But the cashier informed us, when she noticed us packing our items into the two tote bags we'd brought, that the Canadian stores would be following suit in October. Some part of that is due to the fact that people will grab handfuls of the large bags and walk out with them, but she also said something along the lines of, "All the trash has to go somewhere, so maybe we should make less of it."
- I've noticed that Shoppers is now selling their own reusable bags. I haven't seen a lot of people using them, though I've seen a couple being bought. But one result of that is the cashiers don't seem quite so surprised to see my bag (even if I tend to bring the smaller Whole Foods bag with me).
- In fact, just about every store I've been in now has displays of reusable bags, usually store-branded. That makes me chuckle a little, because of course every store wants people to carry around a bag with their logo. I'll admit we've got two Whole Foods bags, plus one with the Loblaws logo that we got for free at the Green Living Show. I use the smaller Whole Foods bag for quick errands and feel fine about giving them that advertising since they had them for sale ages before everyone else. The larger Whole Foods bag comes from a store in the States and is a wonderful insulated and zippered bag--specific to grocery shopping. But most of our regular purchases go into a couple of large tote bags Trillian's mother gave us one Christmas so that we'd have extra bags for the trip home. We're not using them for anything else, so it works out perfectly.
Sigh. But hey, I'm encouraged to see more people working on baby steps like this since I'm convinced that's going to be the best path to getting the most people to make sustainable changes.