Learn to refuse things you don’t want in your life and fill that extra space with things you love and use. I don’t want or need plastic shopping bags, but I get a kick out of using my fun totes and produce bags. I don’t think anyone needs plastic shopping bags, and they are one of the easiest things to realize that you don’t want in your life as soon as you find out they are just a waste. Trash can liners, pet poop bags, even mess containment can be performed by other, more aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible alternatives.
I always carry a compact bag with me for the “just in case” reason, but when I know I’m going shopping I have a kit with reusable containers, several shopping totes, and a number of produce bags. I recommend starting out with around three shopping totes and five produce bags of various sizes. This covers my once a week shopping trip for my family of four, but you may need to adjust accordingly.
There are other shopping things you’ll need eventually to become zero waste, but for now just help cut down on the 380 billion plastic bags the US uses every year by never again accepting a plastic bag under any circumstances. You may have to return to your car or home a couple of times when you realize that you’ve done your grocery shopping without your bags, but after a few botched trips, you’ll never forget them again. Alternately, use your shopping totes instead of a shopping cart to collect your purchases, and you’ll realize you’ve forgotten them when you grab your first item, rather than after you’ve paid for everything (like I once did).
First time reading about a hundred steps to zero waste? Go here for the introduction and index.