Tip #1: BYOB (Bring you own bags):
I see people bringing their own bags more and more at the grocery store, farmers markets etc but you still see folks using individual plastic bags for items like produce, etc. I recommend not only getting your own grocery bags but also get your own produce/sundry bags. There are now many options out there for both grocery and produce bags. My personal favorite are these ones from Simple Ecology – they also provide nice guidance on bag types and sizes.
I keep mine by the front door and some in my car so I never forget them.
Tip #2: BYOB is not just for groceries:
I find it odd that I see more and more bags for grocery stores but not at clothing, toy, crafts stores, etc. Be the one to set the example and change that! Bring your bags for any type of shopping. I actually have a few more fashionable/smaller cotton bags that I have for other types of shopping or when I go to the mall. I even keep one in my purse.
Tip #3: Just say no:
If you forget your own bag, just say no to a bag. I have to admit that I get some looks at stores when I buy clothing items and do not get a bag but so what? It feels great to know that you are saving another plastic bag!
Tip #4: what about pre-packaged items:
I have to admit that this is the hardest one for me as items are just so overpackaged these days. This takes a bit more time (and at times a bit more money) but look for places that sell items without packaging. Cotton produce bags can be used to buy bulk grains, beans, nuts, coffee, tea, etc. This can further help reduce your plastic bag use.
This is not meant to be an all inclusive list but rather a few suggestions to help you reduce your plastic waste.