Whenever we go shopping, we try to bring all our cloth bags and avoid using the plastic ones as much as possible. Even when we have enough cloth bags – we still run into the same problem.

* If it’s got lots of little pieces (nuts, grapes, lettuce that will shred if you look at it funny, etc)
* Frozen goods (that aren’t really frozen any longer)
* Roast chicken (that’s just waiting to spill its goodness into the trunk when we take that hard left onto the highway.

How are we supposed to gather and organize this stuff so that it will come home safe and sound?

I buy nuts by the pound. I’d have to bring a container and make sure the store doesn’t mind weighing an identical container and resetting their scale. Either that or I’m paying for my container every time. If I brought a container, wouldn’t the store be worried about some kind of cross-contamination from my container to the bins, or worse – I get sick and try to sue them?

Vegetables and fruits. With some (cellery, broccoli, cauliflower, and the like) I can forgo the plastic bag. Even things I use to group in bags to make check-out easier – I can manage without the bag. But what about grapes, cherries, or fragile fruit? Lettuce, burried in my cart, just leaves a mess. And smaller stuff (garlic, ginger, kiwi, …) runs the risk of actually falling out of the cart because the item is smaller than the cart’s mesh.

Frozen goods and roast chicken are just messy. We have some (very large) recycled bags that are more plastic than cloth. We can use these to contain messy foods – but it seems such a waste as the item is typically dwarfed by the bag designed to hold 4 2L pop bottles and 2 bags of sandwhich bread.

Some stores are offering a 5 cent discount when you bring your own bags. Honestly I don’t think about it. Using, washing, and remembering to bring these bags is a habit me and mine want to foster for reasons other than the cash discount. And if stores were serious about it – they’d charge for their plastic bags and make the cloth bags more readibly available.