Paper or Plastic? Win a Reusable Grocery Bag!

by Katy on July 20, 2010 · 81 comments

Portland, Oregon has been working towards banning single use plastic bags for a couple of years now. The effort was derailed by a myriad of other issues, (mayoral sex scandal or economic breakdown anyone?) but it’s made its way back up the issue ladder and is once again moving towards actually happening.

I received this e-mail from the mayor yesterday:

Dear friends,

Last Friday, I made public the City’s draft plan to ban single-use plastic carry-out bags and have stores collect 5-cent charges on paper bags. And over just the past weekend, support for the approach has been on the rise.

  • First, the Oregonian published an editorial on Saturday supporting our approach. You can read that editorial by clicking on this link:
  • Then, on Sunday, Fred Meyer Stores announced their plan to stop using single-use plastic carry-out bags in all their Portland stores starting August 1, 2010! I applaud Fred Meyer for their leadership on this issue. Fred Meyer joins other great brands in our region that have made the transition away from plastic and toward paper and reusable bags. Some stores — like Zupan’s Marketplace, Whole Foods and Market of Choice have shifted away from single-use plastic carry-out bags for years. Others, like New Seasons Market, have never offered plastic bags, responding to shoppers’ demands for paper and reusable bags.
  • And great advocacy organizations like Surfrider Foundation and Environment Oregon continue their grassroots outreach, adding thousands of supporters in the region to their efforts to Ban the Bag. To learn more and get involved, go to:
  • So, to add your voice to the conversation about banning plastic bags in Portland, visit, take a look at the proposed ordinance and Frequently Asked Questions, and leave us a comment. The deadline for public comments is this Friday, July 23.

It’s time for Portland to take action. Portlanders are ready, Portland’s businesses are ready, and the approach is right. Please join me and thousands of your friends and neighbors, and remember to thank those stores that are making the move to ban plastic bags.


Sam Adams

Mayor, City of Portland

And by the way, kudos to Fred Meyer (Kroger) for not waiting for legislation in order to stop handing out those dratted plastic bags!

In celebration of banning plastic bags in all cities, I will be giving away one reusable grocery bag. This Baggu brand bag was given to me by the Salem Saturday Market in lieu of a speaking fee. It folds into a small pouch, and would easily fit into any purse. To say it’s “as cute as a button” would not be an understatement.

To enter to win this bag, just put your name in the comments section below. I will randomly choose a winner Thursday, July 22nd at midnight. U.S. residents only, please enter only once. Good luck!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out make it do or do without”

{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate July 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

Thanks for doing this. Don’t put my name in the drawing, though. I have about 8-9 reusable grocery bags myself, and make sure my kids all have them, too. Now I admit I do occasionally get paper bags from grocery stores for school projects, cat little removal, and so on… but I’m tired of seeing those plastic grocery bags hanging from the trees along the road and floating in our oceans.


Peggy Troller July 21, 2010 at 3:17 am



Julie in GA July 20, 2010 at 11:27 am

Julie would love to win this one! Thanks! : )


Alison July 20, 2010 at 11:28 am

Alison 🙂


Rachel July 20, 2010 at 11:40 am

Recently lost my Trader Joe’s bag and looking for a replacement. 🙂


Jennifer July 20, 2010 at 11:50 am

I have lots of reusable bags but only 2 of the little ones that fold up in a pouch. I love having them with me at all times. I need a few more since I group errands I go through a lot.


Rachel July 20, 2010 at 11:58 am

Rachel R


Jean Mittelstaedt July 20, 2010 at 11:59 am

Have loads of bags but could certainly use a more “packable” one. Thanks for offering it!


Eli July 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

These bags are FANTASTIC!
-Eli 🙂


Cate July 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I would love to win this. We have a few reusable bags that we faithfully bring to the grocery store, but none that are easy to transport. That means we often forget them when making small stops.

And good for Fred Meyer!


Jen July 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm



Lacy July 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Cute bag!


Jeanine July 20, 2010 at 12:49 pm


I recently mended a torn seam on one of mine, only to overload it in the store and have it rip again.

Frankly, I’m tired of the sewing, and the bag would make such pretty ribbons for scrapbooking.


Elizabeth L. July 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Elizabeth L. 🙂


Valerie Heck July 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I have a plastic bag question. I use those cheap plastic bags from the grocery store as trash bags in small trash cans. I also buy trash bags for my kitchen trash can. Is anyone making ‘trash bags’ that are biodegradable? We can ban these little grocery store plastic bags but I’ll still have to keep buying and throwing away plastic trash bags to hold my trash. I don’t think banning these bags is the exact solution and I want to hear if I’ve missed something that’s going on with trash bags. Thanks for the great post! : )


Jenn H July 20, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Valerie-I just don’t put a bag in my bathroom or bedroom trash cans. I empty them into the kitchen can when I take it out. Of course the kitchen can has a bag because even with composting you end up w/ some wet trash in there. If the can without a bag gets yucky for some reason I just rinse it out in the shower & leave it in there to dry then put it back. Just a thought!


Tracy Balazy July 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Thanks to an idea I got from The Compact, I now use a cloth tote bag in my bathroom trash, which I dump periodically into the kitchen trash (which, unfortunately, still is lined with a plastic trash bag). The bathroom can is wicker, and the off-white tote bag actually looks good in there, like one of those Longaberger baskets.

Other than one set of six washable cloth tote bags I bought back in my catalog-buying days, all the bags I use from groceries are tote bags I bought at garage sales. People are always getting bags that commemorate events and organizations, and so many of them end up in garage sales for a quarter!


psmflowerlady/Tammy July 21, 2010 at 7:15 am

I’ve gotten biodegradable compost bucket liners for my compost bucket. They are pretty flimsy though and readily tear and actually begin to bread down on contact with the least moisture, so not sure I would recommend them. Got them from Gardener’s Supply. They are great for compost buckets – if you don’t let them go more than a day or so.

Also – please don’t enter me in drawing as I have MANY re-usable bags. However, I did want to pass on that it’s very easy to make your own bags from old t-shirts. Turn under and sew the bottom hem shut (front to back). Using large round bowl laid over the neck of the t-shirt as a guide – cut a deep groove out of the front and back of the shirt and then cut off the sleeves. The neck/shoulder area become the handles. If your house is anything like mine, we have T-shirts coming out our ears, so these end up being free. Right now, I’m using an awesome royal blue tie-dye shirt my son outgrew from space camp – so I’m supporting a cause and look pretty snazzy too!


psmflowerlady/Tammy July 21, 2010 at 7:16 am

That’s break down – not bread down – Freudian slip – it’s almost lunch time.

Lisa July 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm

There is a company called Biobags, they make biodegradable trash bags and the big lawn and leaf bags out of corn.


Lisa July 21, 2010 at 9:22 am

Valerie- Like Jenn H, I leave my small trash cans liner free. Sometimes I put a layer of newspaper in the bottom and baking soda for deodorizer. As for those plastic kitchen can bags- I haven’t bought a roll of them in probably 3 years. I feed a LOT of cats and dogs. Their dried food comes in kitchen can sized bags. The outsides are usually paper but they are lined with heavy duty water proof plastic on the inside. You can compact your trash using your shoe clad foot to your hearts content and will not rip a hole in them. Plus any wet, yucky stuff won’t leak out. In 3 years, I’ve never had a mishap using one. Usually our family of three only generates one kitchen sized bag a week. I buy more pet food than that so have a good supply built up.


Ann July 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm



Stacey July 20, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Way to go, Fred Meyer! Good for them.



Sue July 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm



Sandi July 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I would love to win this bag! I don’t own one that would fit easily into the purse I carry so it would really come in handy.

Thanks Fred Meyer! The time has come!!


Kathy M July 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Wish we were a little more progressive here in S Georgia. I ocassionally see people with their own bags but it is the exception rather than the rule. My bags are showing wear and tear, would love to win your bag. Thanks! Kathy


Rebecca July 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I would love to have a little bag to keep in my purse. 🙂


missie July 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Missie….would love this!!


Heidi July 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Boy am I jealous of you NWers, over here in New York. We are light years behind. I have a stack of green bags which I keep in my car and bring to every store I go to. I see more and more people using green bags, which is encouraging, but still the majority of people use plastic. I’d be thrilled to see stores ban plastic bags.


Jana July 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I would love to have this. My kids are in on the action and it may be just prfect for us all! Thanks for the opportunity!


Sam Jones July 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Sam Jones in Jonesborough, TN Go Portland, (and the REST of the US!)


Mrs. B July 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Baggu bags are the best. You are wonderful for having the giveaway.


Carolyn July 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm

To answer the person who asked about not lining small bathroom or bedroom trash cans with plastic bags, here is what I do. I do put a grocery store plastic bag in the trash can, but then I don’t dump the plastic bag each time. I simply re-use it, and just dump the contents of it into my large trash bag in the garage. That way, if for some reason we have wet, goopy disgusting trash in the bathroom trash, I can just take out the plastic bag. But that is not the usual type of trash we put in there, so I only wind up changing the bag once a month or so. And I empty it nearly every day.


WilliamB July 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Don’t pick me – I have more than I need right now. I popped in to say that there’s a reason these bags are known as Witches Britches in some parts of the world.


WilliamB July 21, 2010 at 5:21 am

PS – by “these bags” I meant the disposable white plastic ones.


Jaime July 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Me want : )


Mary Kate July 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I’d love to win the bag. I keep my reusables in my trunk, but none of them fold like this one does. When we were at the Outer Banks (of North Carolina) this summer the Harris Teeter store had only paper bags.


Sean July 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Don’t pick me either, since I have plenty, but I wanted to say good luck! Here in Seattle the city council and mayor added a fee, but then the plastic bag lobby (!) financed a citizen initiative campaign where, to our shame, the citizens repealed the fee. But now there’s talk of an outright ban, so we’ll see.

Regardless, good luck Portland!


EMO July 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Nice bag, good cause 🙂


Lucia Jenkins July 20, 2010 at 4:34 pm



Tina July 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Love it and love being green 🙂


Lorna July 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm

3 cheers to Oregon and to Fred Meyer’s for leading the way! I hope the next to go are plastic water bottles…..I read horrible statistics about there being enough used to circle the earth every so often, but don’t remember it exactly enough to quote. I’d love to win the bag!


Linda July 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Thanks for sharing your gift with us!


erossman July 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Good for Fred Meyers! I do hope that the Fred Meyers here in Seattle do the same. We need to promote stores like these that are trying to do their part. This is a pretty big step.
I hope they give out some free bags that can’t afford their own.


Heather July 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I use bags like that so much more consistently. I’m famous for leaving the bags in the car, but if I have one on me (in my pocket or purse) then it works. I have one that I keep in my work bag, but I’d love a second for my coat pocket!


namastemama July 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm


This will NEVER happen in my town. I have to tell the cashier and bagger multiple times that I don’t want a bag and they are always so confused. “You don’t want a bag at all?” “Are you sure?” ughhhh


Lisa P. July 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm

This would be great… my bag is looking a little “worn” these days LOL.


Chris Danner July 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Don’t put my name in the drawing (I already have a gazillion bags), but I just wanted to comment on the Baggu bag – they’re really nice and refold easily to fit back in the little pouch. One year for Christmas I bought them for myself, husband, son, daughter and son-in-law. I keep mine in my purse and use it frequently!


Valerie R. July 21, 2010 at 4:21 am

I would love a bag that fits in my purse! I have lots of the bulky kind.


Robin July 21, 2010 at 4:58 am

I was recently at the Carrboro, NC farmers market and was shocked to see so many people relying on plastic bags. Carrboro is a neat little hippie town – a place that I could have thought would have banned plastic bags a long time ago!

I learned at a Earth Day festival in April that EVERY SECOND 11,000 plastic bags are used in our country – eleven thousand people! That number is staggering!!!

Since then, I’ve re-upped my efforts to not use bags. We’d gotten so good about not using them that I had to ask my mother for some because we had completely run out! We use them as trash bags and dog poop bags…



Kristen Harrison July 21, 2010 at 5:30 am

I would love to win this bag. And way to go Portland! We need to bring this practice down here to Georgia. Thanks!
Kristen Harrison


karen July 21, 2010 at 5:33 am

Kudos to businesses that offer recycled tote bags for purchase. The down side ( I think) is that they are mostly made in China, not USA. I prefer to buy handmade totes made by local artisans as it makes it a win/win for all parties involved 🙂


Kim July 21, 2010 at 5:34 am

Thanks for sponsoring the giveaway.



Carla July 21, 2010 at 6:43 am

Kudos to Portland! May the rest of the world sit up and take notice!

And don’t pick me, either, since I probably have close to twenty cloth bags between the two cars. One other bag I love is my handmade string bags. If you go to the link you will see how much they can hold but they wad up into a small bundle for a purse or pocket. Win/win in my book!


Rachel July 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

Love these! I’ve been using canvas bags for a while, but a few weeks ago I got one of the ones that fold up into a small pouch, and it’s AMAZING.

My boyfriend is now complaining that we never have plastic bags for the garbage cans.


Lisa Under the Redwoods July 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

Our county is working on banning plastic bags altogether though there are some who want to wait for a state initiative to pass. (I’m not holding my breath)

As for using the bags as trash can liners we do that now in the kitchen, but our town is starting to take all wet food waste including meat and bones in the yard waste boxes. (I already compost veggies) So I just need to figure out how to manage this in my house ,and then we should be able to do away with the kitchen liner altogether. Just gotta get hubby and kids on board.



SHERRI July 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

I would love to have this “cute as a button” bag. Thanks


Sheryl July 21, 2010 at 9:14 am

I have a question for any indoor-cat folks that are reading. We go through 7-8 plastic grocery bags/week because we scoop the (clumping litter) catboxes into them daily. Ikea did sell poop bags by the roll at one time, but have stopped (and they almost didn’t have a wide enough mouth for those larger clumps of litter.)

The cat box has been the single reason why I’ve not been able to let go of plastic grocery bags entirely.

So cat owners–what do you do? Reducing the frequency with which we scoop is not an option. The cats going outside is not an option. Is there an affordable biodegradable bag we could source?


Sean July 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Two ideas:
1.) You could try flushable litter if that’s an option where you live/for your cats
2.) You could get a trash can with a lid that you keep near the litter box. Scoop into it and close the lid (to manage odors), then throw out the bag when it’s full. You’d still need bags, but fewer per week.

I suppose you could also try toilet training your cats. I’ve never done that perrsonally.


Sheryl July 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Thanks, @Sean. The flushable litter isn’t an option (been there, done that, paid the plumber), but I’ll look for a can with a tight-fitting lid.


Jane July 21, 2010 at 10:16 am

Jane. What a cute bag!


Cindy F. July 21, 2010 at 10:17 am

Would love to have another bag!


Sherry Worthy July 21, 2010 at 10:48 am

I love that bag!


BevP July 21, 2010 at 11:59 am

Just remember to wash your bags every so often.


Rebecca July 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

my fav color. nice that it folds down into something you could store in a purse for those times you forget your bags in the car. not that that EVER happens to me!


Susan July 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Looks awesome.


Jo July 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Bags are my downfall. Bring it on.


Kristi July 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I’m addicted to using reusable bags for everything! I keep adding more to my collection and slowly am getting into a routine (in leaving a supply by the door, in the car, when we go visiting, taking a craft project along, etc.) that not only reduces our need to use plastic bags, but also being able to carry so much more at once!


lacy July 21, 2010 at 9:15 pm

fingers crossed! Love the bags that fold small!


Teresa July 22, 2010 at 3:07 am

I love the idea that you can carry it in your purse – easy to find and use when necessary. I’m always forgetting my bags when I go to the store…the fold up bag would be a great way to make sure it goes along for the trip!


Issa July 22, 2010 at 4:59 am

I love bags! I could always use another awesome one. 🙂


Lynda July 22, 2010 at 6:10 am

Lynda D


Brenda July 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

I would love the bag!


Natalie July 22, 2010 at 9:56 am

Love it! Reusable bags usually fit more groceries in them anyway.


Kelly July 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

This would be wonderful! All of my resuable bags are about to bite the dust.


Bonnie July 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

Thanks for the opportunity!


Nora S. July 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

So cute! I hope I win!


Connor July 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

love it!


Ani Mia July 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

I really need to start using green bags and with 2 kids 2 and under, this bag would make it a lot easier as it is easy to carry.


Dave July 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

We would love to have another reusable bag!!


pat July 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I would love this


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