How our cat demands we use fabric grocery bags — and the 5 tricks we use to remember to use them!

Guestpost by Jen Cywinski on Apr 30th

Bed Cat

I love reusable shopping bags. I have tons of them (store bought and handmade) stuffed into a single bag that hangs in the coat closet, ready for action at a moment's notice! However, the pile of plastic shopping bags seems to multiply with increasing vigor. One day it's just a couple of bags floating around the kitchen, the next I'm faced with K2. It's a sad but true situation many people find themselves in. The intention to reuse is there, but the bags don't make it out of the house, the car, or the bottom of your cart. My local supermarket even put a sign outside of their doors reading, "Don't forget your reusable bags!" so I know I'm not alone! Cue collective eco-guilt.

I want to help the environment, but my brain is also swimming with reminders to take out the trash, feed the cat, pack my lunch, and do the laundry. In the big scheme of the day remembering some cloth bags rates pretty low compared to preventing stink and starvation — at least until now.

What's changed? In the month since we've moved, the need to eliminate plastic and embrace cloth has become more important than ever because of our cat.

Remus is affectionate, wakes me up in the morning, and loves to play, but he also chews on plastic grocery bags. Not like a chew toy — he is actually eating little pieces of plastic. I wake up several times a night to tiny munching sounds emanating from beneath the dresser or in the hallway. Afraid that he'd get sick and damage his tiny intestines I'd jump out of bed to confiscate his prize. Why was he doing this now? He'd never done it until we moved? Maybe it's a sign. Yes, a sign! With our new apartment comes our new healthy habits! Or something like that. Either way it was time to get creative since the issue had gone from "Help the environment" to "Help the environment and save the cat from death by plastic."
You might not have a cat that noms on plastic bags, but these tricks should help you remember your bags or any other items.

Remember your bags!

Remus

Superfluous kittenhood Remus photo

  1. Hang your bags on the front door. Keeping them in the coat closet might be tidy, but it makes them easier to forget.
  2. Always have one or two compact grocery bags in your purse or back pack. When you make a quick trip for milk you'll be a Champion of Preparation.
  3. Positive reinforcement. Okay, stay with me. Associate those cloth bags with something good. For example, I have one fabric bag so giant it makes me feel like Johnny Appleseed 2012. It's silly and that is exactly why I won't ever forget that bag.
  4. Use technology to your advantage. Going grocery shopping after work? After the kids get home? Set an alarm in your phone for 15 minutes before you're heading out to the store.
  5. Shopping list! Leave a reminder written on your shopping list or order some custom made ones on VistaPrint. As long as you remember your list you will be ready.