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.
Tips for totes:
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.
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.
Look to buy reusable bags that are machine washable (the totes above all pass this test!).
Consider multiple uses for your tote! Reuse them for the gym, picnics, study materials, or as an extra emergency travel bag.
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)