I am not a plastic bag.


…no, not a sheep either.

All the bruhaha behind that thing that is not a plastic bag gave me a chuckle today. Lining up a day early to get your hands on one? A near riot at a mall in Hong Kong? What do they think this thing is, an iPhone?

Not that I have a problem with the not-plastic-bag thingy, mind you. I think the campaign is ultimately laudable. Getting more people to quit using disposable grocery bags is a great thing for the environment. But why should we all carry the same bag? Perhaps the right message on that bag is not ‘I’m not a plastic bag’ but more like ‘I’m a sheep’.

Figure8bag_2For those not interested in going b-a-h, let me show you a few other fun bags that are just as righteous as that thing that is not a plastic bag. The choices are endless, really. You can even find bags that are themselves reused. Reused-reusable bags, how meta is that? A company called Elsewares.com sells rad shopping bags made from rescued Dacron sails and other super cool canvas bags just perfect for the trip to your local organic supermarket.

From Germany, the Reisenthel people have my heart – and a big chunk of my pocketbook – when it comes to
baskets and shopping bags. I adore everything about them, variety,
colorful designs, utility, and most of all how absolutely
indestructible everything I bought from there has been. The current object of my obsession is a bike basket,
with a special thingy that clips on to the handle bar to make a instant
bike basket where there was none before. Never you mind that I’ve got
a bike basket already..Fishveganbag

There are even vegan bags, did you know that? Alternative Outfitters carries a few shopping bags that are somehow
vegan. Frankly, I care less about having vegan bags than eating a vegan
sandwich, even, but these bags are actually cute. I love the one with
the fishies. BluericeAlso equally as goodie-two-shoes are Totelemondethese bags made from
reclaimed rice sacks from Asia sold at Reusablebags.com.

Another cute bag makers, with a cute name even, is Tote Le Monde.
No, it doesn’t come with the baguette or the flowers, just the cute bag.

Plenty of adorable bags, and not a sheep among them. Don’t you like it better like this?

P.S. a proper thank you must go to TreeHugger and MightyGoods for some of these inspirations.

Delicious Digg Facebook LinkedIn reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Email Print Friendly

40 Responses to “I am not a plastic bag.

  • Poonam Phatak said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 3:18pm

    I second your thoughts. Interesting blog!

  • jo said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 3:30pm

    Really send ’em over the edge…how about the giant blue and yellow IKEA bag…or GASP an L.L. Bean tote?

  • B said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 4:06pm

    My mother has been using the same reusable green canvas bags for nearly 15 years – way before it was cool! I used to get teased by my school friends at our small town grocery store for ‘not being able to afford the free bags’ – its nice to see times have changed and that somehow reusing bags has become as riot worthy in the consumer world as cabbage patch dolls were then.
    It does seem a bit silly to be so choosy as to what your bag should look like though…

  • AW said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 4:26pm

    Hey there–
    I just wanted to point out the loveliness of http://www.envirosax.com They fold up to the size of a plump eggroll so that you can toss them in your purse/bag/glovebox for spur-of-the-moment shopping….which is a very, very important attribute in my life.

  • Alison said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 4:34pm

    I adore the envirosax too! I keep one in my purse for random bag needs. Then I bring several when grocery shopping and they are perfect. I love that the handles fit over my shoulder.

  • sam said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 5:45pm

    Personally I love Anya Hindmarch. She’s every bit as cool as an iphone. And to get one of her bags for just $15 – i can see the appeal.
    Aside for my beloved orange Avoca basket, I am finding the Rancho Gordo tote very chic these days. It’s not transparent, but I’ll be and say Steve gave it me gratis the other day. Now I am doing his advertising for free. he’s a smart guy.

  • Diane said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 6:37pm

    I bought a fabulous vinyl carry-all with wooden handles (also a cool jute one) in India for about 20 rupees (50 cents) and it goes with me every week to Berkeley Bowl to do my shopping. It’s practical, holds a TON, and is very stylish. I always get comments on it. It’s not a sweet little girly shoulder bag, but a proper carry-all that can hold a bag or two of groceries. Although I admit when fully loaded it up, it does get quite heavy.
    I love it. That “hot” bag is nowhere as cool as mine…

  • $ha said:
    July 18th, 2007 at 11:03pm

    When I went to London I’ve seen lots of bags like those! Especially “I’m not a plastic bag”.

  • andreea said:
    July 19th, 2007 at 12:54am

    so glad to read these. the ‘i am not a plastic bag’ craze arrived even in tiny belgium, i wonder if they’ll come up with a french version ‘je suis pas un plastic bag’?
    here supermarkets started giving out for a short period of time free reusable carriers, to encourage people it’s cool not to use hundreds of plastic bags. a long way to go …

  • Linda said:
    July 19th, 2007 at 1:10am

    They no longer have plastic bags in grocery stores where I live here in Provence so you have no choice but to buy a bag. We have about 6 that we keep in the trunk of our car, available when we make a shopping trip.

  • Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy said:
    July 19th, 2007 at 1:22am

    Thank god someone said it! People are lining up for anything these days!

  • zak said:
    July 19th, 2007 at 8:28am

    Hilarious “SHOPLIFTER” bag that I got for my girlfriend.

  • umami said:
    July 19th, 2007 at 11:23am

    I have lots of vinyl/canvas type bags at home, in the car and my handbag. Current favourite are from Reisenthal and Hello Kitty.
    But most people may just want to get one to resell, they couldn’t possibly want to be seen in it in public no?

  • Lisa said:
    July 20th, 2007 at 2:16am

    How about making your own reusable groceries bag (for uniqueness?)

  • kel @ Green Olive Tree said:
    July 20th, 2007 at 6:12am

    This post is funny, love it when you wear your fashion guru hat sometimes. I still remember the Vialis post you had. They’re having massive sale now in BCN! About your comment on Vichy, I know, it’s an interesting kind of salty. It’s the refreshing kind of salty, not draining kind of salty…

  • Lil said:
    July 20th, 2007 at 11:59am

    my thought exactly, when i started reading about the price of the bag hiked up in ebay etc because it became a fashion accessory… shhesshhhh…

  • Lil said:
    July 20th, 2007 at 11:59am

    my thought exactly, when i started reading about the price of the bag hiked up in ebay etc because it became a fashion accessory… shhesshhhh…

  • gobsmacked said:
    July 20th, 2007 at 1:44pm

    The comment only carries credibility if its a philosophy that you apply to other areas of your life as well. E.g. you ABHOR and will NEVER wear any labels on your clothes or shoes. Question is, will you say no to a Birkin or a Kelly?

  • Elaine said:
    July 20th, 2007 at 4:06pm

    Of course, Fred Meyer up here in the northwest sells a nice fabric bag for about a buck. And the checkers LOVE them, which isn’t true of many bags, because they have a flip-out solid bottom and that little loop to hold the bag upright on their stand. I bought a bunch and just keep them in the car for random occasional grocery trips.

  • Diane said:
    July 20th, 2007 at 4:19pm

    Hmmmm…abhor and will never wear labels?…Yup. Yes. Si. Ja. Don’t have any. Don’t want any. Can’t speak for Pim of course. Never, who knows – but for right now I can’t see that my life would be enhanced by a trashy yet popular talking bag.
    And in any case, I see no problem with inconsistency. I’m usually suspicious of statements with the words “always” or “never” in them.

  • Lucy Vanel said:
    July 21st, 2007 at 2:13am

    Ever since the law went into effect making non-biodegradable shopping bags illegal in France, there has been an explosion of lovely colorful fold-able reusable cloth bags available almost at every shop. I always pick up a couple of them because they make nice gifts for friends when I go back home. They all have some kind of environmentally friendly message in French or a children’s theme, to emphasize that we are passing this world to our children. Beautiful idea for a post, Pim.

  • Linda, The Village Vegetable said:
    July 21st, 2007 at 5:55am

    i very much agree. any old tote should due. i lift it up to societal norms and pressures. people are used to carrying around the same plastic bags — now they want the SAME tote.

  • dbell said:
    July 21st, 2007 at 1:08pm

    i’m all about the recycling, but i also use the bags for, of all things, stuff i have to recycle! i really appreciate people trying to better the environment, but those bags smells vaguely of supercoolstylishenvironmentalist, non?

  • dbell said:
    July 21st, 2007 at 1:16pm

    p.s kudos to diane!. she must be smart and i’m guessing an academic test instructor of some kind. you are discouraged from choosing any answer such as “always or never” on the mcat, sat, gmat, lsat, gre, etc. i love academics/foodies!

  • Steamy Kitchen said:
    July 22nd, 2007 at 6:58am

    I prefer a nice hand woven basket to bags – it just feels better in my hand and lets the vegetables breathe. Now if I could only find one with wheels. Shopping gets heavy!

  • Laura Berman said:
    July 22nd, 2007 at 3:17pm

    I have lived in Germany for over twenty years and stopped buying plastic bags at the supermarket or whenever a long time ago. I go shopping the way most do here – with a bag in hand. Ofcourse when I go last minute I occassionally get stuck… but charging for the bags has always worked here. My bag of choice is not the designo Riesenthal – just nice woven (yes plastic) that I bought in a few years back in Belize at a market. I also do my best to support small shops – a big issue here. (shop opening times are still restricted here to protect small businesses.) Believe it or not, in my rather young neighborhood (Berlin-Friedrichshain – a large under 30 population) organic shops are now on every other block. There are three within a three minute walking distance! even though no one here has much money, they are prepared to spend more for healthy stuff. I think it is a really positive sign. The local open market has also expanded its offerings considerably over the last five years – local farmers now offer wild herbs and leaves, heirloom vegeatbles… Not only the cheap restaurants, even the ice cream shop marks which flavors are vegan… Just wanted to report from another part of the world.

  • kareen said:
    July 22nd, 2007 at 3:44pm

    Too funny!Love your blog.

  • Nerissa said:
    July 23rd, 2007 at 7:01am

    My mother has been using reusable bags for an eternity. I’ve never really considered doing otherwise. It only makes sense as plastic bag build-up can happen SO fast.
    I’m always so ashamed when I forget to take my cloth bag to the grocery store. Even in a little village like mine, I am well-known for using cloth/reusable plastic bags. Even the grocery clerks are shocked when I forget them. I think it’s great that more people are using them.

  • Nerissa said:
    July 23rd, 2007 at 7:01am

    My mother has been using reusable bags for an eternity. I’ve never really considered doing otherwise. It only makes sense as plastic bag build-up can happen SO fast.
    I’m always so ashamed when I forget to take my cloth bag to the grocery store. Even in a little village like mine, I am well-known for using cloth/reusable plastic bags. Even the grocery clerks are shocked when I forget them. I think it’s great that more people are using them.

  • Thanh said:
    July 24th, 2007 at 4:05am

    I couldn’t agree with you more Pim. The people in HK especially are sheep. Anytime there is a new fad, the quickest take up is in Asian countries where everyone must have one and just follow each other blindly. When I was there on holidays, everyone wanted so much to be an individual that they all dressed so weirdly, only to look exactly like the next person in their equally weird clothes and hairstyle.

  • Florence said:
    July 24th, 2007 at 6:26am

    No plastic bac, no sheep. Fully agreed.
    In France, I used to ask for plastic bags but since I arrived in Germany, I re-use my own plastic (or not) bags…and it works perfect.

  • Arkansas said:
    July 24th, 2007 at 9:18am

    You’ve got a nice blog.

  • therese Le Mignon-Priest said:
    July 28th, 2007 at 6:19am

    Pim, what about the GREAT canvas bags, indemodables!!! de LL BEAN!
    PS:Ton petit chat est ADORABLE!

  • Gina said:
    July 31st, 2007 at 8:50am

    I just got a giganto reusable vinyl/plastic sack from with my Market Day order… It was a dollar.
    It may not be a fashion statement, but… it was a dollar. 🙂
    Really enjoying your site. Thanks!

  • Aimee said:
    July 31st, 2007 at 1:46pm

    I ordered a wonderful bag from the Animal Rescue site, it was made of recycled juice boxes. I love the no plastic idea, but like you, don’t want to have something that looks just like everyone else’s. 🙂 Cute post!

  • Wende said:
    August 2nd, 2007 at 8:37pm

    Heh… I love it.
    Thanks for this.

  • Pim said:
    August 6th, 2007 at 10:08am

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I might just have to get one or two more for my collection.
    And, OMG that SHOPLIFTER bag. Hilarious. I love it.
    Lisa, I’d love to make my own bag but I am so not crafty it’s painful.
    Kel, I missed the Vialis by just a couple weeks then. Damn!
    gobsmacked, Diane and dbell are right, you know. Never is a strong word. I must say I don’t usually wear clothes or carry bags with too obvious a label. I figured if they wanted me to advertise for them I shouldn’t have to pay for that stuff.
    Thérèse, *everything* from LL Bean is indemodables! Ella, elle te dit merci.
    Thanks all!

  • Kat said:
    August 26th, 2007 at 10:36am

    It doesn’t really matter where it’s made, or what it’s made out of… The point is, people who like this bag will want to use it and that in itself can reduce the consumption of plastic bags.
    The goal wasn’t to diminish child labor or cheap labor in China.
    If people like this bag and decide to use it as an alternative to plastic shopping bags, then the message and goal is effective.
    People who want this bag know its intended purpose and ultimately it’s a personal choice to stop using plastic or not. The bag itself doesn’t make a difference, it’s the attitude people adopt.
    The message is boldly imprinted on the bag so it’s promoting awareness and a 2nd look at things.
    Like if you bring it to a supermarket where everyone is packing their stuff in plastic, they might think twice next time.
    —-BTW, don’t be fooled by the price drop of these bags on ebay, there are tons of fakes out there, over half of them are sold from China now. Beware of the lack of pictures, new sellers with little or no feedback!!!

  • Mr. Pellett said:
    September 24th, 2007 at 8:34am

    I like using the environment friendly paper bags. We get those and reuse them once we get them home. They make great liners for the cat box, and if we have any left over, we recycle them with our other paper products.
    Paper is produced from forests that are grown for the purpose. It helps reduce greenhouse gas (CO2 is removed from the air, and fixed in the wood/paper until it is burned) The US has more land in forest now than it did when Lincon was alive (Abe Lincon that is)
    The more use of wood, the higher demand for more forests, the more that get grown, the more CO2 gets removed from the air!
    My dad planted over 500,000 trees for the US Forest service.

  • Tote Canvas Bags said:
    July 30th, 2011 at 6:29am

    great post…. you have done great job….it very cool blog. The post seems very innovative. These are a healthy alternative to plastic bags. I must say that I am intimidated with the approach of your opinion.

    Tote Canvas

Leave a Reply