In Los Angeles, we have been barred from using plastic bags while shopping. Stores cannot hand them out which makes the options for grocery carrying the couple cent costing friendlier paper bag or a few dollars worth reusable store tote. Thus, the indecision of the classic paper or plastic conundrum has been replaced with “Paper or your own—or do you want to buy our shitty ass branded bag?”
No one wants that branded bag. And, while the paper bags are great, they’re too reverent an item to just stuff into the trash, meaning you will stockpile them under the sink or next to the fridge or behind the trashcan like a growing anorexic cardboard mass. You should buy some bags of your own, if you are in Los Angeles or not. A reusable bag helps to reduce waste and blah blah blah while giving you a bit of your own shopperly pizazz.
Think of it this way: when I was in high school, whenever you had to bring in something from home (a baked good, materials for a project, an extra pair of clothing), you always bagged it in whatever carried your most fashionable, coolest purchase. Draw string Gap bags were most common while white, flimsy Express bags were a near rival. I always saved bags from visits to other cities, holding tight to then-obscure brand ephemerals like an shiny, multi-material H&M bag or a white paper Aldo bag.
Yes, that story is a ridiculous anecdote of consumerist showdown but—as a consumer—you should be able to brand yourself somehow when in the act. A few suggestions and tips for doing this—
• Grab a tote. You have a lot of these around the house already because tote bags are the new t-shirt and everyone gives these away at events. This is the easiest option.
• Affix a bag to you, at all times. You will inevitably forget your tote at home, ending up at the store like, “Where is my bag??” Buy these unfabulous little utilitarian friends and clip it to a keychain when shopping or plop it into a bookbag. They’re not great looking but do a fantastic job.
• Get a hybrid bag. Transitional accessories are crucial. Thus a bag that can go from office to market and bag again is always nice. Topo has some options as does LeSportsac.
• Make fun of it all. You’re obnoxious and stupid for bringing your own bag: we all know this. So take it one step forward with an embroidered thank you bag or a luxury net bag. (Keep in mind you can get both on the cheap, too.)
• Evolve your shopping bag. A bag’s diversity is great but think about this as a long distance pursuit and find a brand that will change with you. For example: Mimot is a great starting point. Start with their reusable tyvek tote, upgrade to nylon, and treat yourself to an adorable fabric version.