Did you forget your reusable bag?
Here are our top tips to keep them handy.
Pushing shopping cart through aisles with no shopping bags
We’ve done it. You’ve likely done it. Let’s face it, everyone has probably done it at least once by now.

On July 1st, Prince Edward Island became the first province to ban single use plastic bags from all stores. That’s a positive step forward for the environment and one that was sorely needed. Some stats show that nearly 3 billion single use plastic bags are being used in Canada each year1 and PEI alone was using about 30 million annually2. So, we as a Province, have made a positive change for the future.

By now, we have all bought, made, or have been given reusable bags. We’ve swapped them in exchange for the ol’ plastic bag and know we have done something good for our environment. Yet, no matter how we love them, we all know the feeling of being in the store with that mad moment of despair when you realize you have left them behind… again. ☹

But not to worry, there are solutions out there for the worst of us offenders. We, at the Town of Stratford, have pulled together our top favorites to share with you and encourage you to share yours too!
So, let’s kick it off with an easy one.

Visibly, have lots
Several Think! Stratford bags in a row.
Have plenty of reusable bags available (also think about getting reusable produce bags).

Stash them in your car, in your purse, in your backpack, diaper bag, or with your bike.

Keep them visible, hang them near the front door, in the garage, near where you store your keys, etc.

Several reusable Think! Stratford bags hanging on front door

Police yourself.Keep extra bags in the trunk of the vehicle

Do you make it too easy to forget? Then you need to get tough with yourself.

Go the distance. Forgot them in the car when you are in the store? Then set your cart aside and run out. A few extra steps won’t hurt us, and it will help us remember for the next time.

Prep your vehicle. Leave bags or crates in your trunk and if you have forgotten to bring them in, take your cart out to the car and pack your groceries there instead. (Works best on nice days, of course!)

Take an extra step and always put your bags back after you unpack your groceries, so they are ready and waiting for the next time.

 Make them memorable

A decorated reusable grocery bag with a red elephant on it.

A small, fold-able reusable bag attached to a set of keys. Think of them as a fashion accessory. Want to express yourself while heading out on the town for some shopping, then accessorize with your favorite designed bag.

Use different color bags for different uses. Who says you need to be monotone? Share the rainbow and organize your life at the same time.

Try making some for yourself. If you have taken the time to make one, you’ll be personally invested to make use of it, and you should give yourself a pat on the back for doing so!

Always have them with you. Get a few of the small fold-able kind and attach them to your key-chains. Let’s face it, if you forget your keys, the bag will be the least of your worries and this way, you will never leave home without it…hopefully.

Get others involved

Share the wealth. When out shopping with friends, bring extras, there’s always someone that forgets. Loan them out and in return encourage them to do the same.

Involve your family. Have them monitor each other with friendly reminders. Make it fun, make it a competition. We all know that one sibling that will keep things going (you know who you are.)

It will cost you. Throw out (or slightly move to one side) the old swear jar and set up a new one for when you forget your bags. It will pay you to remember them!
A jar full of money from when people forget their reusable bags.

Make them a priorityPost-it note reminder on door, so to remember reusable bags.
Add “bags” to the top of any of your shopping lists.

Leave notes for yourself. Stick them on the fridge, on the coffee machine, near the door, on the dash of the car, as reminders.

Go Hi-Tech (the easy way)Use a smartphone to schedule reminders to take bags.

Smart Phone Scheduling. If you tend to schedule your shopping each week, then set up notification reminders on those days from your Smart Phone to remind you to bring your bags.

Smart Phone Locations. If you tend to shop at the same stores, then set up their locations to provide reminders from your phone. The reminder should tell you to take your bags from the car when you are in the vicinity of the store.

• Have we missed any? Let us know!

The facts are that there are over a trillion plastic bags made each year worldwide3 and 8 million metric tonnes of plastic enter the oceans each year4. As an island that is deeply connected to our land and our waters, we need to be diligent in protecting our environment. In the end, it takes less than 2 months to start a new habit and isn’t the future worth taking the time to start this one.

Don’t forget to share this with those you know on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere. And if you have some great tips that are not on the list, then send them to us at [email protected] or mention them to us on social media, and (naturally) you’ll be a hero!

Naturally Stratford Campaign Logo

For additional information on Naturally Stratford Campaign activities, see here.

 1. https://plasticoceans.ca/
2. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-victoria-bag-ban-lessons-1.4897802
3. http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/waste_pollution_facts/plastic_bags_used_per_year
4. https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/03/127-countries-now-regulate-plastic-bags-why-arent-we-seeing-less-pollution