More and more people are trying to make a positive environmental impact by switching from single-use disposable bags at the grocery store to reusable cloth, canvass or even heavy-duty plastic bags. We think that that’s great (and important). However, like any habit, getting used to ditching the single-use bags for reusable ones can take some getting used to. If you’re on a mission to ditch the single-use bags for reusable, eco-friendly bags, here are seven tips to help you on your way.

Keep Multiple Bags In Your Car

One of the first things that tends to “trip up” people trying to convert to more sustainable shopping bags is that they stop at the grocery store on the way home from work or while driving without stopping at home first and therefore simply don’t have their reusable bags with them. A great way to avoid this is to make sure that you have more reusable bags in your car than you would need for one grocery trip. That way, if you end up taking your bags into the house and not putting them back into the car, you’ll still have bags that can be used.

Buy a Bag That You Like

We all use things more if we like the way that they look! While a brown, canvass reusable bag may actually be the most eco-friendly solution, buy the bag that you will enjoy using the most. Maybe that’s a plastic bag with plastic bead decorations – but you’ll still be ahead of the environmental game if you’re purchasing reusable bags that you enjoy looking at and using. It may seem like a simple tip, but it’s actually quite effective.

Plan Your Grocery Trips

Planning your grocery trips out can be good for your diet, your budget and the environment (fewer trips means fewer food miles), but it’s also a good way to make sure that you’re using your reusable bags. When you plan a grocery trip, you’ll walk out of the house with everything you need, including your list and your bags!

Make Restocking Your Car Bags a To-Do Item

Do you keep a weekly or daily “to-do” list? If so, just make “put reusable bags back into car” an item on your to-do list that you need to check off. Just make sure that that item gets done before the “go grocery shopping” item is done!

Give Yourself a Penalty Fee

Remember when you were a kid and your mother made you put a quarter in a jar every time you used a curse word? Okay, maybe you weren’t a bad kid like we were! But that same discipline technique that works with children can work with you when you’re getting used to using reusable bags. Every time you visit the grocery store and don’t use a reusable bag, give yourself a minor punishment like having to put a quarter into a jar.

Know What To Do When You Use a Plastic Bag

When you do use a plastic, single-use bag (and we all do at some point), know what to do with it after! Many stores and recycling centers offer plastic bag recycling drop off points these days. Just because you used a plastic bag, it doesn’t mean that it needs to go into the Great Pacific Garbage Dump!

Don’t Expect Perfection!

Like anything about yourself or your life that you’re trying to change, you won’t be perfect at first…or probably ever. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not! Nothing that you change about yourself is ever easy or flawless, and nobody is perfect all of the time. Go into your journey prepared to not always succeed.

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Photo Credit: MD Anderson’s Focused on Health via Flickr