Beyond plastic bags
The griping has been well reported. Five cents for a plastic or paper grocery bag? It's an outrage! Almost un-American.
But a tax on store bags is now the law in Washington; much of the fee will go toward Anacostia River cleanup. Lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland have said they will introduce similar measures in legislative sessions this year.
Some ultra-eco-conscious souls are making their own tote bags. Some customers got free bags this week from stores including Giant, CVS and Safeway. (As an aside, I was amused to hear Safeway's in-store announcement alerting shoppers they will now be charged a nickel for bags to help clean up the "Anacostic" River.)
I must have a dozen canvas bags. (They magically appear in my house, kind of like T-shirts did when I was in college.) But even I am eyeing the new roll-up bags that can be squashed into a small purse or wallet. Here are a few fashionable alternatives:
* Most playful are the popular Flip and Tumble bags. Designed by Stanford University students, the bags fold up into a ball, sort of like a pair of socks and come in myriad colors or in eco-urban prints. The bags are $9 each or $7 each when you buy seven or more.
* These Horchow bags are my favorite. But looking good will cost you: The price is $40 for five 19.5-by-16.5-inch patterned bags, which roll up to the size of a keychain.
* A cheaper option are Chico bags, a brand that pioneered the compact reusable bag. They cost $18.98 for four 18-by-14.5-inch bags.
* Baggu bags come in just about every color of the rainbow. They are large: an advantage because they carry up to 50 pounds of groceries, and a disadvantage since they don't fold down as much as some. The bags are $8 each or $7.50 each for three or more.
* Also functional is this Reisenthel bottle bag. It safely carries nine bottles without risk of clanking or breakage. The $14.95 bag comes in chic prints and solids.
-- Jane Black
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