I decided that I could handle making a move to natural fabric shopping bags - all I would have to do is keep them in my car so I had them when I needed them. It turns out that my sister-in-law makes and sells very stylish shopping bags. http://www.gogreenwithstyle.com/reusable_shopping_bags
I took them with me on my last shopping trip. I had 3 bags that are each purported to hold as much as 6 plastic bags worth of groceries (that's 18 bags worth altogether). Usually, after I shop, Nate and Ben make multiple trips from the car, fingers full of the plastic bags. This time, ALL my groceries (except the cases of water and soda) fit into the 3 shopping bags and 2 paper bags. Nate carried them all in on one trip. (He was very, very happy.)
I immediately went online and purchased another set. (She ships fast, so it arrived in just a couple of days). This time, I purchased one that had a liner for produce/cold goods. I'll let you know how it works out when I shop next.
I keep mine in the car, so when I drop into the drugstore, or Target, or wherever I happen to be shopping, I can grab one and go. It's easy, its stylish, and it makes me feel great to not pollute the world.
FAQs - from people in my life.
If they hold so much, aren't they prohibitively heavy? Not at all - I imagine it is a function of physics, but the wide canvas straps distribute the weight very evenly. No more squished fingers from hefting the load on a small fulcrum.
You only have a family of 3, what about larger families? I do only have a family of 3, but I only grocery shop once every 3 weeks or so. I imagine you might shop more often. I needed 6 bags to carry what I purchase when I shop. It is a small sacrifice to keep our world beautiful!
The grocery stores now sell "green bags" for a much cheaper price. I'm not saying you have to purchase from the website, there are many alternatives. I am saying that the quality between the two bags is non-comparable. Those bags in the grocery store are smaller, cheaper in quality, and will need to be replaced much more often. Find a solution that works for you.
What will I do for trash bags/lunch bags/dog-walking bags if I give up the little plastic ones? I ask you...how many of those little plastic ones do you have stored up? I myself have well over a year's supply. Once those are gone, I can get my groceries packed in them as needed.
What will my children wear if we don't have plastic bags? This one is a total joke made by my husband about a past blog from my brother's very funny wife. (Rebie - if you hate it, I'll take it off.)