01 July 2006

Manly-Man Shopping Bags

I've been long fed-up with the collection of plastic shopping bags I accumulate from grocery shopping only to have them 'recycled' in some Chinese incinerator. This is not to mention the lovely elongation behavior of low-density polyethylene when you've got a 4L jug of milk in one bag. For some reason I don’t like cutting off the circulation to my fingers whenever I go out to buy milk.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of reusable shopping bags seem to be made out of some sissified natural fibre with some smarmy hippy logo on the side. Edmonton, being a city of pimped-up pickup trucks that have never had a load in the bed, let alone been off-road, doesn't always appreciate hemp bags with a cannabis label on the side.

What I want is a basic rugged, square-bottom bag with wide handles. So do any of my readers have any recommendations (assuming I still have any -- I hope you're all RSS subscribers...)?

On a different tack, CBC has been running a 'reality' television series called Code Green. Homeowners are given $15,000 to renovate their residence in order to reduce the amount of electricity, water, and heat that they consume. After the renovations are complete the homes are monitored for a month to determine how well they have done. Each installation then competes against other families to see who can reduce their carbon footprint the most, with the top team winning a Toyota Prius.

A colleague of mine were discussing how screwed up this competition would be if you tried to run it for apartment renters rather than homeowners. Take my case: I don't pay for heat or hot water, just electricity. However, the largest source of electricity consumption in my apartment is the refrigerator, an appliance that is the responsibility of my landlord. As such we have this messed up benefits for conservation. If I reduce my hot water consumption, my landlord saves money. If my landlord replaces my fridge, I save money. The problem is obvious. I can open the window in the winter to let in fresh air and totally ignore the extra natural gas burning the building's boiler. My colleague doesn't even pay for power.

This is an obvious area in which government regulation on the way this consumption is paid for would be beneficial. My coin-operated laundry costs $1.75 for washing and $1.25 for drying. I pay the same price for washing in hot or cold water. Ben@theWatt.com has already noted that apartment washers are basically a big cash cow for apartment owners but wouldn't it be nice to have a slightly smarter system where I could pay less for washing with cold water rather than warm or hot?


Engineer-Poet said...

I have a Land's End tote bag which makes a wonderful shopping bag.  I can cram it full of 2-liter bottles and it holds up just fine packed with as much as I can lift (upwards of 30 kg).

Anonymous said...

By now, you've undoubtedly located a bag. But, as a fellow Edmontonian who's just found your blog via TOD, I'll pass on this info anyway.

If you're looking for simple black, natural or tan cloth bags with no logo, Earth's General Store on Whyte Avenue sells some.

Sunterra sells largish dark blue non-cloth bags with their logo on the side, and the Farmer's market sells yellow ones.

They're all fairly good, I think, but the non-cloth ones hold a good deal more.

I actually use one of those folding boxes for my groceries, finding that things don't get quite as squashed on the way home.

-Michelle, fellow Edmontonian

Robert McLeod said...

My god, a person from Edmonton. My reach is growing. Before I had people from Zambia, Thailand, Chile, Brazil, and Australia regularly visit my blog, but never anyone locally.

To answer, I actually haven't bought anything yet − too busy/lazy. So your advice should be helpful, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I answer Alberta's Recycle Info Line (in Edmonton, by chance) and I had a call today from a person looking for good quality, scrunchable cotton grocery bags with no logo no them. My thanks to Michelle for the suggestions. I also wanted to point out two excellent websites I found: reusablebags.com and ecobags.com. They both offer a wide range of high quality bags.

-another Edmontonian

Anonymous said...

Please pass this information on:
Greys Paper Recycling Industries is a new business in Edmonton, Alberta that is making sturdy recycled bags:

The sole aim of the corporation is PAPER RECYCLING.

To serve Mother Nature and assist nature to replenish its bounties, we would like you to be our partner in this cause. As we all know “United We Stand Divided We Fall”. So let us all get together and protect our Mother Nature.


You can drop these off at our location at: 11218 – 153rd Street, Edmonton or we can arrange a pick up for large quantities.

If you have regular waste paper generation, then we could schedule a regular pickup time for your business.

We are also arranging paper collection boxes for offices, bins used for larger volumes of paper waste.

Please let us know your requirements or email us to set up an appointment. Our sales personnel would be eager to see you and discuss our mutual goals.

In the future we will also collect used printer cartridges, computers, and furniture.

Please call now: (780) 454-7397. The phone lines are open from 9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Note: In a couple of months our manufacturing plants will go on stream and then we would be able to offer you recycled paper products manufactured using your own waste paper: letterheads, business cards, greeting cards, envelopes, office files, memo pads, folders, etc… You could proudly say you are recycling your own papers and using only recycled paper products.

Isn’t this a real recycling partnership? It is, and the worlds First!
So be the Worlds First and call us: (780) 454-7397.

Anonymous said...

Could you be any more judgemental?
Maybe you should look at yourself before you spew comments about others, especially hippies. They are the ones who started using reusable bags! You sound like a child who is trying to be cool. Try being authentic and you'll be much happier.

Deb (fellow edmontonian)

Dave said...

For those finding this post for the first time in 2009 or beyond: Do you already have a bag? Any kind of bag - messenger, duffel, backpack, etc.? Put groceries in it. Now it's a grocery bag.

Hard to get more manly than that.