Whether designer or homemade, and in whichever size, shape, style, or design, reusable bags have become so ubiquitous in some circles that they've turned into the very thing they were meant to help eliminate: waste.
While working with clients in Los Angeles, professional organizer Beth Zeigler of Bneato unearthed many a cache of reusable bags, often given away free as promotional items, that had been shoved into cabinets and closets and were gathering dust. At the same time, she knew there were still plenty of grocery stores where you could see "people carrying one or two items out in a plastic bag," as she told The Atlantic Cities blog.
Zeigler organized a chain of drop-off locations -- yoga studios, record shops, restaurants -- where the bag-rich could unburden themselves. Over two months, she collected approximately 1,800 to 1,900 reusable bags from clients, friends, and the community. On Saturday, in a small act of wealth redistribution, she and her cohorts handed out nearly all of them at two local grocery stores to people who weren't already using reusable bags.
Free Bags, And Tips For Not Forgetting Them
Along with the bags, Zeigler distributed tip sheets in English and Spanish with suggestions for ways to "keep your reusable bags organized and on-hand so you will always have them when you need them" -- thus avoiding the temptation to snap up another bag at the store and start the clutter-creation cycle all over again. Among the tips:
- "Stor[e] the bags close to your shopping list"
- "Keep a few in the car and if you need prompting, put a sticky note on the dashboard that says, 'Take reusable bags into store.'"
- "Hooks in the entryway are a great place to keep ... your reusable bags and remember, once you've unpacked your groceries, return the bags to their home."
"The bag event drive was amazing and in my humble opinion, a huge success. We handed out between 1,600-1,700 bags to the Echo Park and Silver Lake community," Zeigler told TreeHugger.com in an email, adding that she hopes to make the bag drive an annual event.
More On Reusable Bags
6 Ways to Make Reusable Bags Work for You
Reusable Shopping Bags: Make Your Own
How to Keep Your Reusable Bags Clean and Safe
Tote Your Reusable Bag with Dignity
Reusable Bag Overload? Donate to Those Who Can't Afford Them