I’m fortunate to have Sharon Rowe, green lifestyle expert and founder of ECOBAGS®, here at Metropolitan Mama this afternoon to help “set me straight” and to give me a few tips.
ME: How long has ECOBAGS® been around and what is the story behind it?
SHARON: ECOBAGS® has been around since 1989! I was running errands in my NYC neighborhood and noticed how many plastic bags were stuck in trees, bunched up in gutters and floating down the Hudson River. In one of those classis “aha” moments I thought, “What if I was to start using reusable bags, like the ones we saw in Europe last summer?” I did some research, found some lightweight cotton string market bags, and began using them to shop locally. We brought 4,000 of what we now call our Classic Market Bags® to the Earth Day Celebration in NY in 1990 and sold all of the bags in two hours! ECOBAGS® was born.
ME: Many moms only go grocery shopping 1-2 times per week rather than every day or every other day. How can a mom be green in that setting? Does she, for example, have to bring 10-20 bags with her?
SHARON: My sister’s a suburban mom who shops 1X/week and uses her reusable bags. She has three large bags, a few medium bags and several of the small produce bags. We sell sets of grocery bags on our site with assorted sizes. If she runs out of her own bags she takes paper bags, which can be used for recycling newspapers.
The key is to remember to bring them with you and then to take them from the car into the market!
ME: What are some simple and practical ways that moms can begin “going green” today?
- Think about packaging before you put something into your grocery cart! Instead of buying single serving bags of things like pretzels and goldfish, get a big bag and teach your kids to use reusable containers.
- Learn about recycling in your town and create a system that works for you and your family. Teach your children to recycle, too! They’ll love participating in saving the planet.
- Also, look at the household cleaners you’re using. If they’re full of chemicals and heavy scents those chemicals that are being released into your home and possibly causing/aggravating allergies and asthma.
Little steps make a big difference so the bottom line is to find small things that work for you and avoid guilt and overwhelm.
ME: How can moms teach “greenness” to toddlers and small children in fun and creative ways?
SHARON: Talk with kids about plastic and waste. Make garbage monsters out of throwaway items (we have info at www.ecobags.com for this). Save the liners from candy boxes and other packaged goods and use these items as the raw materials for projects but TELL the children where the items came from. Ask them to help you sort your bottles for recycling. Teach them to turn off the faucet while they’re brushing their teeth! One way to illustrate how much water they waste if they leave it on is to put a bucket in the sink to collect it while the water’s running. They’ll be amazed and will begin to understand how precious water is as a resource. The bottom line in all of this is to educate yourself and teach your children. They’ll love making a difference, too!
YOUR TURN: Do you use reusable bags at the grocery store? Why or why not?
WIN IT! One winner will receive two bags from ECOBAGS® – a Classic String Bag™ in a fun color (great to throw in your handbag or hang behind a stroller) and a Canvas Tote for grocery shopping. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Saturday, April 26 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). The winner will be announced and contacted on Sunday, April 27. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #280 Miranda Allen. Congratulations!