Practically Green Anniversary Bash! Day 3 – Green Your Shopping

How to green your shopping.  Is that some kind of a joke?  (along the lines of how to train your dragon?) Wouldn’t it be better if we just gave up shopping altogether???  Hmmmmm….well, barring that extreme solution, there are certainly some things you can do to make your shopping excursions a bit easier on the earth. First of all you can aim to buy less. My Less is More shopping mantra keeps me on task whether I’m window-shopping or looking for essentials.  Read the post for the whole scoop but basically it’s all about buying only what you need, focusing on quality vs. quantity and reusing as much as possible.  Nope – buying green isn’t just an excuse to shop for more stuff. And when you do need to shop, choosing to use reusable shopping bags may seem like a small thing to do….but small adds up to big over time. Consider these statistics from
  • About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute.
  • 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used in a year.
  • A single plastic bag takes up to 1000 years to degrade.
Esse carryall tote Last week I wrote a review of a cool, new reusable bag system from Esse and I’ve had a lot of great feedback about it.  People agreed that it would be nice to have something more durable than those freebie reusable bags that begin to fall apart with heavy use.  Well, this week I’ve got one to give away!!  One Mindful Momma reader will win an Esse 3 pocket Carryall Tote (in black with the Esse leaf -as shown).  It comes complete with 3 durable grocery bags, 2 produce bags and an everyday bag.  Basically, it rocks! Practically Green cover To go along with the bags, I’m including a copy of my book, RSS feed or email) or following me on Twitter.  (please leave a separate comment for each thing you do – 3 entries max per person).  The giveaway will be open through midnight, Central time on Tuesday, November 2nd (US mailing addresses only) And come back tomorrow to talk about how to green your kids! (Note: there is an Amazon affilate link in this post) This contest is now closed.  The winner was Beth C who said “I have tried to find things that can be re-purposed rather than rushing out to buy new all the time.”  Enjoy!


  1. Since I don’t have that awesome all-in-one shopping bag kit (yet!) – I save mesh bags from lemons, potatoes, onions, etc (from stores like TJs that only sell them packaged like that) and reuse them as produce bags at the farmers market and other stores.

  2. AND now I’m following you on Twitter! (and now I have to go enter for yesterday’s contest too)

  3. For general shopping, I try to buy used at yard sales and thrift stores. I try to only buy new when it is something we desperately need!

  4. I follow you via Google Reader!

  5. I follow you on Twitter!

  6. I use reusable bags, but find that many of them aren’t terribly sturdy. I also recycle my plastic and paper bags as well.

  7. I follow you on Twitter.

  8. I have small bags from (Subway kid’s meals) that I use for my produce bags. Make it work with what you have! 🙂
    I also follow you on twitter, facebook, and google. Love your tips!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    following you via Google RSS Reader!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve started getting picky over the container that food is packaged in at the grocery store. I recently passed over our usual brand of Worcestershire sauce in favor of another simply because the usual brand was packaged in a type of plastic that our recycling center doesn’t take. The one I got came in a glass bottle. Same for milk: I’ll buy from a regional milk supplier because a)their dairy is local and b)all of their stuff comes in glass bottles, which we can return to the grocery store to get our deposit back (or which we can recycle if we forget to take to the store). I don’t use produce bags — it all gets dumped into the same canvas shopping bag as everything else, just on top to avoid squishing.

  11. Our environmentally friendly shopping trip is to think of snacks that you can buy ingredients for, esp. in bulk, rather than buy something packaged up. We buy popcorn, nuts, dried fruits, etc in bulk. Then we make popcorn, granola bars, trail mix, etc w/them. I try to stay away from store bought granola bars due to the excessive wrappers! Most people are a little afraid of the bulk bins but I say dive in =) There are lots of things you can make w/those ingredients!

  12. Frances Cromwell says:

    I love following you on Twitter, what a great site you have!

  13. When I go shopping, esp. to the grocery store, I always make sure I have my reusable bags, I even try to keep one in my purse just in case. I also bring my mesh produce/fruit bags so I am not using the plastic bags for my lettuce.

    I often take my 5 yr old with me grocery shopping and he is learning that we always use our own bags. I use this opportunity to teach and reinforce reduce-reuse-recycle.

  14. Catherine says:

    I used to always forget to bring my reusable bags, and they weren’t doing much good sitting in my garage. So I started a new technique: when I unload the groceries, I put the bags on the front door doorknob. That way, the next time I walk out the door, I actually put my hand on them, and I take them with me to store in the car.

  15. Catherine says:

    I subscribe via Google Reader.

  16. I subscribe via Google Reader….

    I have tried to find things that can be re-purposed rather than rushing out to buy new all the time.

  17. Hello, I subscribe via google reader, We green our shopping by trying not to use plastic produce bags at all. I have some hemp produce bags I made for certain items that need protection or just plain old roll around in the cart.

  18. If I get plastic bags at a store, I always take them back to be recycled. Also, I purchase our milk in glass
    containers and then return them to the store. That puts less milk jugs/cartons in the environment.
    Many thanks, Cindi

  19. Email subscriber to Mindful Momma…
    Again, thanks very much!

  20. I also follow you on Twitter.
    Thanks, Cindi

  21. I follow on twitter

  22. I follow on facebook.

  23. I bring my jars in with me for bulk food. I have customer service weigh them prior to shopping for the tare weight. Then, just fill the jar and pay only for the new weight. No plastic bags or containers or paper bags that always leak dry goods all over the place.

  24. Cynthia Pitman says:

    We use reusable totes and mesh produce bags.

  25. Cynthia Pitman says:

    I subscribe to your blog

  26. We just started using recycleable totes.Thanks!

  27. I subscribe by emaail. Also, You have some great tips!

  28. I carry folded totes in my purse when I go shopping so that I don’t have to use plastic bags.

    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  29. Subscribed with Google Reader.

    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  30. I follow you on Twitter – Janetfaye

    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  31. I follow you via email.
    We keep extra grocery bags in the trunk so if we forget the reusable ones at home, there’s still some spare with us.

  32. We are careful when buying food packaged in plastic to avoid the “bad” plastics: #s 3, 6 & 7

  33. we shop locally at the farmers or ethnic markets and stick to organic produce and dairy items.

  34. We keep canvas and other reusable grocery bags in the trunk of the car–no more having to remember to grab them and no more excuses to use plastic when I grab something at the supermarket on the way home from work.

    Also–we’ve been biking whenever possible. Better for us and the planet!

  35. I use reusable produce bags that you can wash the vegetables in :o)

  36. As many have stated, 1/2 the battle for using reusable bags is REMEMBERING them 🙂 I take the 30 seconds to run them back out to my car when I’m done emptying them in the kitch – I figure the extra excercise is good for me 🙂 But I love my reusable bags so much that I often have them filled with recyclables, hand-me-downs to give to friends, projects that need to go to school, etc – so I’m always on the hunt for more (esp good quality) bags!

  37. I’m an email subscriber!

  38. And a Twitter follower 🙂 @caweigel

  39. I love my Envirosacs! I was the same way…always forgot my bags. Now, I always have three in my purse…they go right back in once emptied. And cute to boot!! Buy local and try to do seasonal…although it’s hard in AZ since we don’t have “seasons.” =(

  40. My shopping could not be easier! I belong to a group (NOT a co-op)where I get weekly emails about what is available (All organic or local. I reply with what I want, and the amounts I need. Each Saturday morning, I go pick it up from the group (a warehouse, so low overhead & energy use). Everything I order is packed neatly in a box (reusing one that was used to deliver the bulk amounts to the group owner). There are a few of my friends who members also, we can take turns picking up, which saves several of us gas each week in shopping 🙂 Also, once a month we place a bulk order. I order as much as I can in bulk to cut down on packaging, as well as to be prepared in case of emergency, I have a food supply. Things like 50lb bags of spelt, oats, wheat, other grains, noodles/pasta, honey, unrefined sugar, etc. A lot of ti es it comes in a box, where i transfer it to a large food-grade white bucket w/ a gama lid, which obviously, I never replace. My tip is to find a group, or create one, where it eliminates the grocery store and all the inbetween stuff from the farm to your home! (or at least, but at the farmers market. The other tip I have, is to find raw milk, and buy directly for the farm – those big dairy farms are a far far cry from green or sustainable, do not support them in any way, even buying organic milk from the grocery store.

  41. I am subscribed to emails 🙂

  42. I follow on facebook, but do not use twitter 🙁

  43. Start your own garden. you will be able to go to the grocery store less and save money as well, especially if you preserve/can those veggies you grew.

  44. Lane' Richards says:

    I follow you via email…

    My tip: I always ask myself a series of questions:

    1) what’s the environmental impact of buying the product?
    2) what will happen to the product after it’s served it’s purpose (can it be recycled, upcycled, re-purposed, landfilled, etc.)
    3) is it a want or a need?
    4) can I get it for free or gently used somewhere else?

  45. Lane' Richards says:

    I also follow you via Twitter (@LivingGreenOR)

  46. Lane' Richards says:

    And… I subscribe via RSS (Google Reader)

  47. I use re-useable bags already but am always on the look out for new nicer ones!

  48. Alyssa Lee says:

    I’ve been using a reusable bag for some time now since I have enough plastic bags to last whatever I could possibly need with them. I even ask for them from others to make my own plastic yarn and knit or weave into better, more durable plastic beach bags. I bought a Chico bag but have decided against buying too many more since they are made of polyester. It’s not too hard for me to remember them, so a Chico bag isn’t necessary, though they are very convenient! My best tip is to designate a day for shopping so that you don’t get caught up with shopping for whatever, whenever. This way, you can plan ahead to walk to the store with your cart rather than drive to further reduce any carbon impact! Thanks for the giveaway! I’m very hopeful for receiving some new bags since I don’t have any produce bags right now (not to mention, I am a broke college student…)

  49. Alyssa Lee says:

    That sounds great! I’ll have to try to find it around here, but being broke really doesn’t help! Where did you get your big white bucket? And what would you recommend to someone who isn’t near any farms (West Los Angeles)? I always try to buy milk that RGBH-free but that’s as close as I can get. 🙁 After watching Food, Inc. I can’t stand the idea of buying industrial-made milk…

  50. Alyssa Lee says:

    I follow you via email!

  51. I try to avoid using produce plastic bags whenever possible and when I do use the, I find a re-use for them at home.

  52. I’m an email subscriber.

  53. I tweet

  54. You’re on my google reader

  55. I’m an old(er) dog learning new tricks. I’ve been working this year on becoming green all over the house.For groceries I try to only go a coulpe times a month instead of several trips each week

  56. tina reynolds says:

    I use reuse bags and buy a lot at winco in bulk from the bins that I can use reuse bags for thanks for the chance to win

  57. tina reynolds says:

    i subscribe thanks

  58. tina reynolds says:

    I follow on twitter @mrstinareynolds

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