As I mentioned earlier this month, Los Angeles has banned shopping plastic bags, and we now have to bring our own reusable bags or buy bags at checkout. That means we need more reusable bags than ever, so here are some tips on getting free or cheap bags:
1. Take advantage of free bag offers. Stores occasionally offer a free reusable bag to get you into the store. For example, Staples regularly offers a coupon for a free reusable bag plus 20% off everything you can fit in it. Stores like the Disney Store offer a free reusable bag every Earth Day, on April 22.
2. Take advantage of free-with-purchase offers. Through today (1/15), Vons/Pavilions is offering a free reusable bag with a $25 purchase, 2 free bags with a $50 purchase, and 3 free bags with a $75 purchase (there was a coupon for the offer taped to the register at my store). Ralphs has given me a free wine carrier with the purchase of six bottles, though that was a while ago and I don't know if that's standard practice. I've also heard about other stores offering free-with-purchase reusable bags to ease their customers into the plastic bag ban.
3. Reuse paper and plastic bags you already have. You probably still have some paper and plastic bags from purchases you made last year. If you're not using them for anything else, they can be reused as shopping bags for as long as they last.
4. Reuse gift bags. Some gift bags are very sturdy, and can be reused multiple times. As long as you don't get them wet or make them too heavy, they should last for a while. And if you're really lucky, someone will give you a gift in a reusable bag (I like to do this, and recipients like teachers love it!).
5. Look for 99-cent reusable bags. I think every store I shop at sells select reusable bags for $0.99. They are usually branded with the store name, and tend toward the ugly, but they certainly serve their purpose and the price is definitely right.
Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by kraifreedom.