How Local Consumers Can Start Transitioning Away From Plastic Bags

May 23, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Soon, local consumers may not have the option of plastic bags at stores in Stafford Township.

Back in February, when the Stafford Township Council introduced an ordinance to ban the use of single-use plastic bags by retailers in town, some didn’t like the idea. Some still don’t like the idea. However, Councilman Alan Smith posed a question to those who may be opposed to such a ban, and it’s a reasonable one.

“Sometimes doing the right thing is uncomfortable early on and then we adapt,” he said toward the end of the Feb. 21 council meeting. “There will be folks coming up to that microphone and be hardcore against it, and business people who will say it will be an impossible encumbrance on their business. But they will have to answer the same question: What is the right thing to do?”

Whether you’re for or against a plastic bag ban, whether you’re an advocate of at least attempting to help the local and global environment in some way or believe such a mantra is a bunch of nonsense, whether it’s something that may last forever or just a relatively short time, the likelihood of not having plastic bags as an option in Stafford at some point later this year is a real one.

So, if you live and shop in Stafford Township – or even if you live elsewhere and shop in Stafford Township – there’s a good possibility you’re going to have to make an adjustment to how you shop in town. For many, life without plastic bags already occurs. For others, it might be time to start, at least, thinking about how to get acclimated.

Here are a few ways to make an adjustment away from plastic:

Paper Still Exists – In the 1970s and early ’80s, plastic bags at grocery stores weren’t even a thought. Still, at locations such as ShopRite, you can utilize paper bags for your groceries. Sure, perishables susceptible to condensation don’t fare well in paper – or better yet, the paper doesn’t fare well when it gets wet. But back in the day, many shoppers doubled up their paper bags to make them more durable and doing so often worked out fine. That can still be done, and the ones that remain dry or don’t get torn can be reused, either at ShopRite or elsewhere. Paper bags, by volume, hold more than plastic, anyway. Just build up a stash of dry, intact paper bags during the coming months, and you will get through a plastic bag ban with little difficulty.

Reusable Bags Not Hard to Find – Many retailers nowadays offer reusable canvas bags, or bags made of some other, more durable material at a reasonable cost. Yes, it is a cost because they cost money to make, and it should be expected that retailers want to alleviate some of that burden for themselves. But as a consumer, it’s actually an investment to spend a little money on such bags – they last a long time, after all. Some consumers who have posted comments on social media say they’ve been using the same reusable bags for years. If you don’t want to purchase bags at local stores, just search “reusable shopping bags” on, and you will find many options.

For the More Stylish Shopper – If you’re a consumer who doesn’t have a problem with making a larger investment into reusable bags and want to be a bit stylish about it, then your bag supplier may as well be a direct-sales company like Thirty-One. From large totes to medium-sized thermal bags, Thirty-One products are extremely durable, come in a vast array of styles and patterns and most are easily cleaned. Most of the products can be personalized as well. No doubt, they’re not cheap products, but many Thirty-One bags store a lot of stuff and have multiple uses (some people even use them to carry tools or bulk items from stores like Lowes and The Home Depot – yes, men included). So, if that’s your style, check out to find a sales consultant near you. Another option might be Baggu bags, which are similarly stylish and practical – found at

Box ’Em Up – Many who shop at the local BJ’s Wholesale Club or Costco already know all about shopping without plastic bags, because those stores don’t have any. So what do they do? They bring their own reusable bags or utilize the unpacked boxes made available near the checkouts or exit to cart off their groceries and such. If you have the space to keep them around, there’s nothing like a solid box to carry things from the grocery store to the car and then into the house. Shallow, sturdy strawberry boxes, larger and really sturdy lettuce boxes and others used for bulk items are great options for those who can lift them when they’re full of stuff.

David Biggy


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