Resources for shoppers
There are many websites and store locations where you can purchase a variety of reusable bags to replace disposables.
Remember to B.Y.O.Bag
Remembering to bring your reusable bags when you shop is like learning any new habit—you can do it with time and practice.If you have trouble remembering to bring your bags with you, try these handy reminders:
Keep your bags clean
Don't forget to wash your bags regularly! Just like kitchen sponges, towels and surfaces, your reusable bags can hold bacteria and viruss, and need to be washed regularly. Thurston County Public Health has guidelines for safe reusable bag use (external).
Choose the best reusable bag
There is no standard definition of a reusable bag. However, within the intent of the ordinance, 20 repeat uses is a reasonable minimum.
Which type of reusable bag is best? The Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags determined that different types of bags have different environmental impacts. You would need to use a non-woven polypropylene bag between 11 to 33 times to equal the impact of a disposable plastic bag. In comparison, a cotton bag would need to be used 131 to 393 times.
Several reports estimate how many disposable bags would be replaced by one reusable bag. According to the Florida Retail Bags Report (PDF), the range is 56 to 315 disposable plastic bags replaced by a single reusable bag in a year’s time. This would depend on factors such as the shopping habits of the bag owner, what the bag is made of, and the size of the bag. Even at the low end, taking nearly 60 disposable bags out of circulation for every one reusable bag is a big step.
Make your own bags
Use these free patterns to make reusable totes, produce bags, and snack/sandwich bags:
Call Terri Thomas at (360) 867-2279 or e-mail Thomaste@co.thurston.wa.us.
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