Just One Thing: Green Your Grocery Bags

RuMe reusable bags are manufactured in South Korea under strict fair trade policies and standards. With each new product line, RuMe will dedicate a portion of its proceeds to a social or environmental cause. (Those include Algalita Research Foundation dedicated to protecting the marine environment and its watersheds through research, education and restoration; Greenprint Denver's Million Trees Initiative, which seeks to plant 1 million trees in Denver; and the Food Bank for the Rockies, which provides food to more than 1,000 hunger relief programs in Colorado and Wyoming.)

One drawback is that the bags are made from polyester, which isn't super-eco-friendly.

Prices range from about $9 to $10 each.

ReusableBags.com

This conveniently named Web site carries inexpensive reusable totes that aren't too tough on the wallet. The company donates 1 percent of sales to the environment and supports fair trade practices.

Bags cost between $3.95 and $15.95, depending on size and material.

Some bags are made from 100 percent recycled content, others from 100 percent organic cotton or silicone-coated nylon, which is what is used in outdoor equipment like tents, making them good for outdoor use. They are also small and compact.

Blue Avocado Grocery Bags

Blue Avocado Reusable Grocery Bags are a system of bags for your trips to the grocery store. The biggest set of Gro-Pak bags includes a main tote, an insulated bag for hot and cold items, a mesh bag for veggies, a stuff-and-go bag that folds up really small and a multi-use bag. They all condense together to fit in one bag.

All of Blue Avocado's bags are responsibly manufactured with recycled material (about 10 percent recycled material, soon to be 50 percent in the next version); they're machine washable and include a carbon footprint label that shows you how many plastic bags you are saving by using them.

Using this system, an average shopper can replace up to 1,000 plastic bags every year (avoiding three plastic bags each grocery store trip will save more than 200 per year).

All Gro-Pak bags are available for purchase individually from $9.99 to $19.99, and "kits" range from $24.99 to $69.99.

Blue Avocado reinvests 1 percent of its income in loans to fund micro-entrepreneurs around the globe. As of January, the company had invested in 15 entrepreneurs from Guatemala to Cambodia.

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