Plastic Bag Ban and a Sweet Deal on Adorable Reusable Totes

A reusable shopping tote handmade by The Little Willow Tree.

I have already admitted that I in no way claim to be a super green mama. My choice to cloth diaper weighed more heavily on the money-saving factor that the Eco-friendly factor. We only eat organic foods when the cost difference between the organic and non-organic are so close that I don’t mind paying a tad bit more. We own an SUV, a diesel Jetta, and a gas guzzling pony car. Let me put it this way… I have not been known to go out of my way to save the environment. I know I have got some of you tree-hugging mamas up in arms, but rest assured that I am slowly but surely learning to do my part to be a good steward of this incredible earth that God has given to us to inhabit and enjoy.

On Monday, the county that I live in, San Luis Obispo, put a plastic bag ban into effect. This means that stores are no longer allowed to give their customers plastic bags to use to carry out their purchases. Along with this ban, customers must pay 10 cents for each paper bag that they need to bag their items. To avoid any bag fees, you may bring your own reusable bags from home. Most stores that I have visited have several reusable bags for sale at the check stand as well. The stores that are included in this ban are supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, and those with more than 10,000 square feet of retail space or more.

I know that plastic bags are the issue. They are quickly filling up our landfills and take over 1,000 years to degrade. This is a problem that I fully acknowledge as a valid reason for a ban like this to go into effect. However, things like this drive my husband crazy. He has no problem with people using reusable bags (we own six cheap reusable bags that sometimes make it to the grocery store… But mostly sit in our entryway closet.) He has no problem with our reusable bags. He has no problem with your reusable bags. He does however get up in arms about our local government forcing business to charge their customers for paper bags. And I get this. I’m not a huge fan of this either. But whether we like it or not, when I go to the grocery store tomorrow, I will either bring my reusable bags, or I will get charged 10 cents per bag that I may need.

There are lots of issues associated with this ban, and I hope to shed some light to those affected by this ban and those who may be affected in the future.

Facing the “But’s” to the Plastic Bag Ban:

But I reuse my plastic bags!

Totally valid. I do too. Plastic grocery bags make perfect trash can liners and are great for picking up after pets. Small plastic trash bags can still be purchased for your personal use at the store. The amount of bags that get thrown away compared to the amount of bags that get reused really just don’t compare. The ban will help reduce plastic bag waste in the long run, even if those of us who are good about reusing have to buy a box of plastic bags every now and again.

But won’t cheap reusable bags cause the same problems as plastic bags?

Yes. Cheap reusable bags will not last long and will sooner rather than later end up in our landfills. My recommendation is to invest in higher quality bags that will last. The ones that you will likely find at the grocery stores check-out aisles for purchase range from about 99 cents to $3.99. It is no surprise that you get what you pay for. I snagged this adorable shopping tote from The Little Willow Tree on Etsy this week. There are loads of cute (and durable) fabrics to choose from to have shopping totes custom made for you. They are fully lined with unbleached muslin and fold up all cute and small so you can easily throw them into your purse for on the go. I figure if my shopping bags are cute then I might actually remember to bring them to the store with me!

My adorable washi tape tote handmade by local work at home home mom, Ashley Marie, of The Little Willow Tree.

But can’t we just recycle plastic bags?

Yes, but only 3% actually get recycled and the cost of recycling outweighs the yield. I’m happy that you recycle, but the reality is that most people don’t.

But aren’t reusable bags unsanitary?

Yes, and so is your tablecloth if you never wash it. Invest in bags that will withhold regular washing. Ask for meats, dairy products, and juices to be placed in a certain bag that you will wash after each grocery trip in case there is any contamination.

So, I know that you have a crush on my new shopping tote, but you can’t have it- that one is mine! However, today is your lucky day! The Little Willow Tree is doing a special deal just for Brilliant Mom readers for the month of October. Use the special deal code TheBrilliantMom20 and receive 20% off your shopping tote order. Check out all the adorable prints available here. Act fast- there is a limited availability of totes for each print and they won’t last long!

I love this pear print! I just might snag this one too!

And doesn’t this happy pink tree print almost motivate you to get your bottom to the grocery store just so you can load it with pretty food?

I am loving these vintage kitchen tools prints too! So many cute prints too choose from! Which one is your favorite?

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2 thoughts on “Plastic Bag Ban and a Sweet Deal on Adorable Reusable Totes

  1. I live in Cupertino, but shop in San Jose and they have the same policy. I’ve been meaning to buy some reusable bags, so it’s nice to have a good recommendation!
    I watched a documentary on how plastic bags were clogging up our planet, and I was totally in favor of banning them forever. Then I moved here, where they did, and I was miffed when I was charged .40 for my bags. I’m much more environmentally conscious in my heart then my head!

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