What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Green Bags

Earth Hour 2010 is March 27 at 8:30 PM with millions worldwide turning out their lights for one hour in solidarity for this environmental cause. Earth Day 2010 is April 22 with many communities worldwide planning special events for the entire weekend. Both of these events are designed to bring an awareness to environmental concerns in the hopes of individuals adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. What is important is each small change we make towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle can make a huge difference not only in our personal lives but also in the health of our environment.

It isn't often that I get to use a video on this blog. In North America we have become accustomed to using plastic shopping bags but these have long been the focus of environmental debate, especially the debate between plastic verses paper grocery bags. In fact The Canadian Green Consumer Guide (1989) even discussed this issue so the debates have been going on for well over 20 years! Adding fuel to the plastic bag issue is some stores have been charging 5¢ per bag for ages. However, recently it became mandatory that all stores in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) charge 5¢ per shopping bag. What is interesting is if you look outside of North America many shoppers use wicker baskets and cloth bags for carrying groceries.

In recent times cloth bags have become a popular eco-friendly statement not only by the grocery store chains that see one more way of getting their store branding in front of people but by those wishing to eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags. Using cloth shopping bags is an easy, low cost and cost effective method of reducing your carbon footprint. Most grocery store chains and even department stores are selling cloth or coated shopping bags usually ranging in price from 99¢ to $1.99. On the low end a bag will pay for itself after 20 uses while keeping 20 plastic bags out of the landfill. So it is a win/win. At the same time when you participate in certain eco-friendly activities such as recycling toners some companies will reward you with a free cloth or coated shopping bag. My husband has empty toners from office equipment picked up and in return receives a free coated bag for each pick-up.

I haven't done an actual count but we have somewhere around 30 of the cloth or coated shopping bags. We use them for any shopping not just groceries. We also use them to cart things back and forth to the boat, carrying my latest knitting project to work on while traveling, carry library books back and forth and so much more. My husband has one given away free as a promotion for the Detroit Redwings that he carries his lunch and any other things needed to the office in the morning then brings home any dirty lunch dishes, drink bottles and that sort of thing back home in the evening. So these bags are very useful and they can easily be washed as well. The down side to using the cloth bags is it takes little time to run out of plastic bags for garbage which simply means re-adjusting how to deal with garbage, something I will discuss in a future post.

Garden Gnome