H-E-B Reusable Bag Giveaway

I returned from England a few months ago impressed at how most of the grocery shoppers carried their groceries around in reusable totes. While Austinites are still arguing about the environmental impact of paper versus plastic grocery bags, the English have moved on to a third choice, reuse. Since then, I’ve noticed reusable bags for sale both at Central Market and Whole Foods Market but I haven’t seen a lot of people using them.

Today, Texas-based H-E-B tries to get Austin involved in its reuse/recycle philosophy by giving away 20,000 reusable shopping bags. Go to any H-E-B today (Thursday, November 15th) between 10 am and 7pm with 5 plastic shopping bags (any brand) and H-E-B will give you a free reusable bag.

“The more we can encourage people to switch to reusable bags, the better it will be for the environment, ” said Leslie Lockett, H-E-B Director of Public Affairs for Central Texas. “By giving away 20,000 reusable bags for free, we can invite people to give the bags a try and really begin to change habits in our community.”mss_HEBreusable.jpg

If you miss out on a free bag today, don’t give up. You’ll be able to purchase the reusable bags from H-E-B for 99 cents. H-E-B is also providing recycling bins for plastics that can’t go in the city’s recycling bins: newspaper delivery bags, dry-cleaning bags, and six-pack rings.


I got mine and they’re nice. They fold completely flat but when they’re open there is a thin hard piece for the bottom to keep the bag from falling over in the back of the car.

5 Comments so far

  1. mb (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 11:00 am

    Slowly but surely more people in the U.S. are starting to think about the environmental impact of all the plastics we use everyday, and plastic bags are at the top of the list. I started a company designing reusable bags because I wanted to use a cotton bag that was functional and stylish, too. I’m glad they are options out there for everyone– it means more people might actually change their plastic habits! Check out the bags at http://www.minusbags.com. They’re made in the U.S, too!

  2. Constance Reader (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 11:50 am

    The best arguments for reusable bags (and the ones I’ve found friends and colleagues most receptive to) are 1) you can fit more and larger items and 2) canvas bags don’t break! And they have a thousand and one uses between grocery trips.

    Whole Foods sells bags that fold and zip up to wallet size. I always keep that one in my car, just in case.

  3. Jess (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 1:11 am

    I’ve been a proud bag reuser for years–but then I’m from England. Moving to Texas, let me tell you, it was a shock to the system how resistant people are. I love them for all the above reasons, plus I can sling one over each shoulder and carry all my groceries from the car in one trip. Most places, even my pokey local Randalls, carry them now, and the cashiers give me fewer funny looks every time I use them.

  4. M1EK (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 8:23 am

    There was just a fairly long discussion on Austin Contrarian about the whole plastic bag thing from a public policy perspective. Even though I use them for dog and diaper duty, I wish we weren’t giving them away for free. While this voluntary operation is quite nice, it would be even better if they simply charged for the plastic bags at the counter at a high enough price to make the canvas bag a smart decision even for those who don’t have environmentalism on the mind.

  5. mss (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

    Interesting idea to charge for the bags we use…paper or plastic. Whole Foods Market gives you a 5 cent discount for every bag you don’t use but I don’t think it has the same discouraging effect of charging for use.

    A lot of the problem with the current throw-away philosophy is that we are not immediately confronted, as individuals, with the entire cost of a product…including the disposal costs (in landfills) or the ultimate health costs. We have found it so easy to put off worrying until tomorrow that we have stopped thinking about tomorrow altogether.

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