The answer: lots.
The latest extension of BYOB (bringing your own bag to the grocery) is the reusable produce bag. According to the website of one manufacturer of an eco-friendly bag, 3B Bags, one person using three reusable produce bags every week can save as many as 150 plastic bags a year. Multiply that by everyone in your city or state....
3B's bags come in three sizes and are made of lightweight, see-through mesh. They can be laundered, too. However, they aren't your only alternative to plastic produce bags.
Here are colorful mesh bags that really make a statement. Choose from a range of colors and materials (cotton, organic cotton, hemp). They are sold individually from EcoBags.
If you're searching for a more low-key appearance solution, try CareBags from Canada.
In addition to providing an alternative to a plastic produce bag, Carebags are also handy because you can wash your produce in the bag, use its texture to scrub off residues, and put it directly into your refrigerator's crisper drawer.
And if a good pun while saving the environment is what you're looking for, than search no further than Bag the Habit.
The 100% recycled mesh bags will help prolong the life of your produce and, when it's seen one too many trips to the farmer's market, you can return it to the company for a $2 credit towards the purchase of your next bag.
Yes, the small effort of carting your own bags to the grocery can make a tremendous difference. Witness what's happened since Washington, D.C. added a 5-cent tax to plastic bags this past January. The use of plastic bags has dropped from 22 million bags a month to just 3 million! In addition, the funds raised by the tax will fund cleaning up the Anacostia River watershed.
Find your next rental located near a grocery here at Rented Spaces.
Katie McCaskey is co-owner of specialty food George Bowers Grocery in Staunton, Virginia, which has a no-plastic bag policy.