A Tote-ally Awesome Shopping Experience

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Krizia Liquido
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In May, Los Angeles became the largest city in the U.S. to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines. A similar bill is set to advance in Sacramento, with many cities following suit. Some might deem this a bit "hippie" or extreme, but there's no doubt that it will help ease pollution and improve environmental sustainability. According to Worldwatch Institute, Americans throw away 1 billion plastic bags each year, only 1 percent of which are recycled. Now that's a waste.

Companies have caught on to designing trendy alternatives to the plastic grocery bag, so you can be both stylish and eco-friendly, even if you live in a city that still offers you the plastic option. We picked out a few of our favorites--each of these either use recycled or reclaimed materials, organic textiles, or are produced in factories practicing Fair Trade labor and manufacturing laws.

Eco-Bags

1. ChicoBag $9.99 / 2. Envirosax $29.95 / 3. Rebel Green $34.99 / 4.  RuMe $9.95

Tips for totes:

Keep a foldable tote like the ChicoBag or RuMe in your purse or car so you have it handy for last minute shopping.

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Certain foods such as raw meat, fish and poultry can carry food borne illnesses. Wash and dry totes thoroughly and regularly, especially after transporting meats and produce, to avoid contamination.

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Be smart when bagging: Place different types of groceries in separate bags so you don't have to wash them all. For example, put your chicken in one bag, tomatoes in another, and non-perishable items or ready-to-eat foods in a different bag.

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Look to buy reusable bags that are machine washable (the totes above all pass this test!).

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Consider multiple uses for your tote! Reuse them for the gym, picnics, study materials, or as an extra emergency travel bag.

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As stewards of the Earth, it's important for us to be socially intelligent and responsible consumers. What eco-friendly habits make you feel good about what you buy?

(Image via flickr user runzwthscissors28)

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