Sunday, November 20, 2011

How Many Tote Bags is Too Many?

The reusable tote bag; a wonderful invention, which in the "old days" was just a regular bag. But with the birth of plastic and paper bags, the cloth bag was brushed aside, as many sensible items had been when disposable items exploded onto the market. But with the wave of "green living" washing over the US, the reusable cloth bag has made somewhat of a comeback. I don't think though that it’s the right type of comeback. For one - the cloth bag never disappeared, they have been in existence and been used for what seems like ever. These days reusable tote bags are more than just a sensible item to own (and use), they have become like many things, a fad. It has become a fashion statement and trendy - although not trendy enough for everyone to use instead of using plastic or paper bags.
My tote-bags!
Picture from:
I can’t say that I have not fallen victim of buying an extra tote bag because it was cute – I definitely have. But, recently I have begun to re-evaluate not only the amount of stuff I have, but what I own and have bought over the years. I am finding that I have a lot of stuff that is just that, stuff- it has not meaning. I want my home to be filled with meaningful things- pictures of friends and family, my Grandfather’s paintings and my Uncle’s wooden duck decoys. I want antiques that my parents collected and copies of my favorite books. What I don’t want is clutter. I don’t want decorative candle holders that cost $1 and were made in China. I want more room in my home friends, family and dogs! So, in taking a look at what I have in my home I looked also at my reusable tote bag collection. And wow – over the years I have acquired quite a collection. I know I didn’t buy all of them- many were free- and everyone knows that it’s very hard to say no to anything free.
Well, all in all I found out that I probably have at least 25 reusable bags. Twenty-five! Seriously – who needs that many tote bags? Although some I have purchased, others I got for free or were given as gifts. I know that some of them I do use for groceries and some for knitting projects, and others are good to have around just in case. But I really realized that I did not need all twenty-five. So, I decided to donate a good handful of them. I am still hoping to further reduce the number I own. I may choose to donate more or re-gift a few. No matter how I choose to reduce the number I own, the one thing I am promising to do – not buy anymore or fall into the trap of the free tote bag. Because, although these bags are reusable, natural resources are still needed to make them and some of these great, trendy reusable bags are made over-seas and sent to the US – using non-renewable natural resources every step of the way. This pledge I am making is just one more step I can make to help and protect the fragile earth we live on. 
More bags - it's never-ending!
 Can you pledge to stop using paper and plastic bags? Can you also pledge to only own a reasonable number of tote bags? If you took this pledge and asked one or two friends to make this pledge also - together we could make a difference.  
P.S. - If you need a tote bag or two, I may be able to help you out!