“Paper or plastic?”

That classic supermarket query is one of the most often-asked questions ever. And here’s how to answer it so that both you and Mother Nature are happy: “Neither, thanks; I brought my own.” Saying no whenever you can to both paper and plastic will help solve countless environmental problems.

So tote your own reusable canvas bags to the store (just keep a stash of ‘em in the trunk of your car so you won’t forget). Once you get used to bringing your own bags, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do so years ago. And as for that mountain of bags that you’ve already accumulated, here’s how to dispose of them:


  • Shred the bags and toss ‘em into your compost bin.
  • Use them to hold newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and other printed recyclables, then take them to the curb on recycling day.
  • Spread them on the ground in flower or vegetable beds and top them with organic mulch. They’ll help keep weeds down, conserve moisture, and eventually decompose, enriching the soil in the process.


  • Crumple them up and use them as waterproof stuffing for outdoor cushions.
  • Use them instead of commercial trash bags to line your kitchen garbage can and bathroom wastebasket.
  • Stash a bunch of bags in your suitcases. The lightweight, moisture-proof sacks are perfect for holding shoes and soiled laundry.

1 Comment

  1. If you walk your dog and city regulations(or just common decency) demand you pick-up after Fido, you can use a plastic grocery bag to do the job. Just carry one in your pocket, slip over your hand, pick-up Fido's treasure and turn inside-out and tie. Dispose of in the trash when you get home.

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