• Ellie

I can't use my reusable bags. Now what?

Reusable grocery bags

If you’re like me, you spent considerable time and effort switching to reusable grocery bags so you’d lessen your environmental impact. Good for you!

Enter Coronavirus, and all that self-discipline is wasted, right? Most grocery stores have prohibited customers from using reusable bags, mostly to protect their cashiers and baggers from potential virus exposure. Think about how many bags these workers come into contact with each day: If one or more of them come from people with COVID19, the risk of becoming infected is elevated. And we’re all good citizens and want to keep these essential workers safe, so of course we’ll leave our own bags at home now.

But if you’re like me, you’re anxiously eyeing your collection of plastic and paper bags. Right now you’re probably “keeping them for later,” when you can once again drop them in the recycling bin at your local grocery store. I was thinking about this problem, and came up with this solution: Don’t bag your groceries in the store! If you’re a Costo or BJ’s member, you do it all the time. Pay for your groceries, put them in your cart, then load them into your reusable bags at your car. I've done this several times now, and it works great! If you’re nervous about trying it, just check in at the Customer Service desk and ask; then ask your checker and bagger as well.

Try it and let us know how it goes! You can follow store protocols and be an eco-warrior.

If you’re drowning in paper bags instead of plastic, set a reminder for Thursdays from 9-12, and drop off that mountain to Arlington Eats. The good folks there will pack them full of groceries for hungry people in Arlington.

Not all that worried about those bags, but looking to make an immediate difference in someone’s life? A member of our Compass network is working with the Dark Horse Pub to provide groceries and hygiene products directly to members of our community who do not qualify for federal support. If you can donate any of the below, pack them in one those single-use grocery bags and drop them at the Dark Horse any day. They distribute boxes each Tuesday.

Toilet Paper Toothpaste Detergent Soap (hand/body)

Tampons Paper Towels Hand sanitizer

These are extraordinary times, so we’ve got to think creatively if we want to stay connected, stay green, and stay healthy all at the same time.