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February 22, 2008

These Days, Conservation is in the Bag

Contra Costa Times 02.22.08

Judith Morton fits the profile of an eco-friendly consumer: She worries about depleting natural resources, she recycles when she can, and she has three or four canvas shopping bags sitting at home.

Despite her good intentions, Morton's reusable shopping bags rarely leave her house, meaning that she still accumulates dozens of flimsy plastic grocery bags.

While thousands of shoppers have shifted to BYOB -- bring your own bag -- in lieu of answering the old "paper or plastic" question, many consumers struggle to make the switch.

"Our biggest concern with reusable bags is that people will get them and not use them," said Vincent Cobb, founder and president of Reusablebags.com, a Chicago-based Web site that promotes and sells reusable bags. "You're not going to fix the problem overnight. We've been programmed to shop this way. What's hard is not giving up."

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That has been my experience. Keeping a couple of the Acme 1500 bags folded up in my purse, rather than counting on remembering to bring them into the store from the car, has helped me think of pulling them out more often lately.

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