I'm not talking about booze, you drunks. Not that I don't worship the plethora (yes, plethora) of Bring Your Own Booze restaurants that Chicago has to offer, because trust me, there is nothing like all-you-can-eat avocado rolls washed down with a bottle of wine brought in by my very own self (and hence not marked up three times its value). But today, we are talking about baggage, and, alas, not beer/wine/tequila.
That's right, the BYOB to which I am referring is the concept known as "Bring Your Own Bag." It's not a new idea or anything (we brought our own bags to the grocery store when we were just wee ones, and trust me, our family got plenty of weird looks from the other shoppers), but it has definitely only recently become a mainstream way of thinking. But what's the big deal about just using the free bags that stores give away? I mean, it takes less thought and effort, and none of us have much free time these days (and/or the capacity to add one more reminder to our mental to do lists)...............
Well, here are a few simple things to ponder, and I will be brief as to not get too soap-boxy:
1. It takes about 1,000 (umm, yes, that says ONE THOUSAND) years (or more) for a disposable plastic bag to break down in a landfill. Yummy.
2. Well thank goodness there's the "paper or plastic" option! I'll choose paper! Or maybe not - paper bags destroy forests, and take 40% more energy and generate 70% more air pollution than the manufacturing of plastic bags.
3. Many grocery stores these days will offer you money OFF your total purchase if you BYOB.
4. You will look incredibly hip and stylish walking out of the store with your reusable bag over your shoulder (and no one will know that it's filled with bottles of wine).
It's easier than ever to find reusable bags too. Many grocery stores have them for sale right there at the registers. Or make a trip to Good Will and find a fabulous vintage bag to use for your groceries (style + recycling = TLA - that's "true love forever" for those of you not still in middle school).
Beware though of all the canvas bags out there... Lots of companies are hopping on the trendy eco-bandwagon these days without truly being eco-friendly (stay tuned for a future blog on what is known in the eco-world as "green-washing"), and are selling reusable bags made from pesticide-laden canvas cottons. If you're not using an old bag or getting your bag from a thrift store, look for bags that are made from eco-friendly materials. In fact, the ladies at Mountains of the Moon (that's us!) have designed some pretty sexy reusable bags ourselves with which we like to accessorize ourselves as often as possible. Check out our 100% organic cotton "Eco-Fashionista" Bag or our hemp "Eco-Warrior" Bag (as seen in the gorgeous picture of our very own Rachel, above), and be the coolest shopper on your block next time you head out for a spree at the liquor - I mean grocery - store. Reusable bags are also great for "wrapping" gifts and for overnight bags. We just love our eco-slumber parties.
Your BYOB Goddess and "Plastic Bag Rehab" Counselor,