In the bag: free giveaway

*******This contest is now closed, although you should still read this post for great shopping tips!*******

Whew!

I am finally catching up! Who knew a silly little finger injury could cause so much of a work back up?! I have finally gotten myself organized and am now getting caught up on blog posts. I really love talking with you all and sharing ideas, so please allow me to restart my Fall with a great giveaway!

Since I’ve been doing some work and home re-organizing, I’ve decided to assemble this giveaway with a type of  item we use in our home: re-useable grocery bags. If you are still using the Earth-unfriendly bags the grocery store gives you, here is an easy leap to Greener Living.

However, if you already have re-usable grocery bags, know that I’m stepping it up a notch and choosing the best of those bags out there that can be used in many other ways, too. This is a great set to complement what you are already using. I figure if the goal is to buy theses bags once, we should buy them to use well and save money and time beyond the grocery store.

We keep all of our re-usable bags in the trunk of our car, so we can’t forget them. I use every one of these bags in my home and work and now this awesome set can be yours:

How could you ever want to use brown paper bags…and trees…when you can carry these beauties around?  True story: I gave my mom (who lives several states away – Hi Mom!) a set of these several years ago and people still stop her to ask her where she got her pretty shopping bags. Feeling like a fashionista while wrestling milk and toilet paper into the trunk of your car…priceless.

Speaking of milk, let’s start with Mr. CARO’s favorite set of bags. The gorgeous nature photographs of these bags were sent in by customers of a now-out-of-business grocery store in a greener shopping bag design contest.

There is a different image on each side of every bag. So pretty and a great reminder of what we are all trying to protect. Best of all these bags are sturdy and deep enough to hold two gallons of milk each. Whenever they get dirty, we just give these bags a good wipe-down, inside and out (using this planet-friendly product) and they are ready for more heavy lifting.

Mr. CARO also wants me to mention that these bags each come with two strong sets of handles. You can use the shorter handles to carry the bag in your hand and the longer handles are long enough to go over your shoulder. (Mr. CARO’s current grocery lifting record is two bags with four gallons of milk over his shoulders with two full and heavy bags of canned good in his hands…up two and a half flights of stairs.)

Also, at an outdoor concert/picnic event, these bags saved our entire group of friends from having that icky damp grass feeling on the seats of our jeans. Let’s see you do that, brown paper bags.

Next is a set of bags I use in my work. These two deep bags open up to be 8 inches wide and zip fully closed. If any of my clients are reading, this is how I safely carried your re-framed family photos back into your home without letting them get wet from rain, snow or mud splashes. If you are a parent of a child that plays sports these might be an ideal help-mate for you, too. Check them out:

Again, wipe them down to clean them and they are ready for more work.

The next bag is a stylish reminder of the Greener Living goals we are working toward, but it also gives you a wider shape to carry wider shaped objects.

I use this bag as a great library bag because my work often requires research in the form a big coffee-table-sized book. Anyone who has ever tried to neatly stack those large picture books for kids also knows what I mean.

Finally, this fab giveaway includes my very favorite set of bags. I  love these bags because they helped me re-think a habit I wasn’t even conscience of in my daily life. I have used recycled grocery bags for years and given pretty ones as gifts, but I had never even blinked at this other problem I was contributing to every time I went shopping.

This is what I buy in the produce section pretty regularly:

We try to buy the most local produce whenever we can. We also try to buy organic produce where it counts. The potatoes and apples are organic, but the bananas are not, because we don’t eat the banana peel. We buy our popcorn in bulk (read our healthy cooking method here) and buy we the organic popcorn because we are eating most of the kernels.

So by the time I pay for my produce, I’ve carefully considered our household grocery budget, helping local farmers, saving food transport costs, and, most importantly, choosing healthy food for our bodies. Then I bring it all home and put it all away to be used in yummy recipes and I’m left with this:

Aren’t I just the model of conscientiousness?

Have you ever really looked at your grocery store produce bags? Mine have a choking hazard warning on them. Which is good, because I’ve probably been choking a lot of landfills in several states with them.

Next time you are in your grocery store, ask the produce manager how often they have to refill the big rolls of plastic bags we have all used. You’ll be surprised at how frequent those refills are needed. Then, picture all of those little sheets of plastic that we disseminate out to our homes, our communities and our environment. Where do they all go?

Is this thought as much as an eye-opener for you as it was for me? Well, I have a solution to stop this crazy wastefulness. Here’s where these come in:

These are fine mesh produce bags from Crate & Barrel. I looked around at all the fabric produce bags out there and these are the best I’ve found. They neatly draw-string close to turn my irresponsible plastic bag of apples into this:

You can still read the product price code sticker through the bag up close, which keeps your checkout time simplified. The mesh is also a tight enough weave that it can safely carry your bulk purchase items, like our popcorn:

And…if you occasionally squish a grape in your bag on the way home, these 100% polyester bags pop right in the washing machine and air dry quickly.

Now, just in case you’re wondering, I’m never paid or perked to promote a product for any company. I really use these and I like to share real Green Living solutions to help us all work toward better planet living. It’s the only planet we have, ya know?

So, how can you bring all of these helpful, pretty bags into your home and make a difference every time you shop?

I’m glad you asked…

To Enter:  Leave a comment that begins with “IN THE BAG” and tell me how many grocery store trips you make in a month. Just estimate if you don’t know exactly. Think about how all these nice shopping bags could help make your errands easier!

Enter By:  Monday, September 19, 2011 at 10pm EST

Number of winners: Only 1, so enter now! Only one entry per email address will be allowed, so that everyone gets a fair chance of winning. I’ll ship this giveaway to anywhere in the world, so international entries are welcome!

The Winner:  Will be selected at random from the total number of comments by using random.org and will be announced in a post next Tuesday.

Already have shopping bags you re-use? Win these for a friend and help them join in on Greener Living.

Please share this post with your friends, so we can all take steps to cut back on our plastic produce bag intake. A win for the planet is a win for all of us!

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Posted on September 15, 2011, in Giveaways, Green Living. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. IN THE BAG!

    I feel like I’m at the grocery store every day. Actually, if you count stopping to get yet another gallon of milk, I probably go 3-4 times a week. I try to go to 2 different stores to stock up on what’s on sale, plus my favorite produce place a couple times a month, plus UDF to get a gallon of milk at least once a week since we never, ever have enough, plus occasionally Aldi if I just need some staples. I’m going to go with 14. What a great giveaway!

  2. “IN THE BAG”

    We go to the store a lot, but that’s because it’s on my way home from work. It almost feels like we live in Europe where you can go to the patisserie and the butcher in the morning to purchase things fresh for that day’s dinner, but not quite. Superstores don’t have the same…je ne sais quoi.

    Sadly it’s like 20 times a month.

    • Now you should shop like an European, too, Sarah. Re-useable cloth and string bags have been used for grocery shopping for decades there and now we know how there are really on to something!

  3. In the bag!

    I go a couple of times a week. I hate all of those plastic and paper bags left over. This is a great idea.

  4. IN THE BAG.

    We shop 3-4 times per week. We follow the sales and deals.

    Very nice assortment of bags!

  5. In the bag

    I usually go once a week, because I only get one day off a week. It’s really hard to keep food fresh and interesting like that, so I supplement with dinners out and take-out a lot.

  6. In the bag.

    We usually go a once a week to the grocery, once to the wholesale club, once to pick up veggies at my community supported agriculture and once to the farmer’s market. I keep a pretty full pantry and freezer so I don’t have to go very often. I don’t like taking a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old to the grocery. ugh!

  7. IN THE BAG!!

    I go grocery shopping about once a week so about four times per month. Having awesome bags would definitely make it more enjoyable 🙂

    • Jess Peace Reese

      Glad to see you here, Lindsey! Share the link, to let all your eco-peeps know about the awesome giveaway that CARO has going on. I think Cathryn has groovy practical, relevant green solutions for us.

      Peace,
      Jess

  8. IN THE BAG!

    I probably go once a week to 2 different stores and to the farmers’ market. Those mesh produce bags sound terrific! I’m certainly guilty of using and tossing maybe a dozen of the plastic ones a week. Thanks for enlightening me!

  9. Jess Peace Reese

    IN THE BAG!!!!!

    I shop about 6 times a month, for three people. I ALWAYS use eco-friendly bags, and nag my husband when he forgets and comes home with that plastic crap. He says he keeps forgetting…(ERRRRR!)

    I love the bags that you showed for a myriad reasons. To name just a few:
    1) The see through plastic bags are crucial for the cashier to read the produce code. In order to avoid them, I have taken to NOT bagging my veggies and produce, which means they have contact with all the various nasty surfaces (conveyer belt at check out, grocery cart, etc) so I am uber sure to wash thoroughly when I come home, still in the back of my mind, I wonder if I am endangering my son… The see-through eco bags are the perfect solution.

    2) Sometimes I feel that I get the hairy eyeball and cold shoulder from the cashier b/c I am slowing up the process (I always help bag, though). If I can cajole her with pretty, decorative, fun bags, then all the better. I LOVE the clownfish.

    Viva La CARO!!!!!

    Peace,
    Jess

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