Consumers use 500 billion to 1 trillion single-use plastic bags each year. Although some people reuse plastic bags, many end up in landfills or in the oceans. This causes over 100,000 marine turtle and other animal deaths every year.

A reusable grocery bags can help eliminate 1000 plastic bags in its lifetime. You can even buy reusable grocery bags to benefit charitable causes. Take, for example:

Americans Helping Americans and Americans Helping Families are two of the organizations that help poverty-stricken and Running Strong for American Indian Youth (, recently started printing their logos on grocery bags containing 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.

Why do people forget to bring reusable bags? Although shopping lists are planned, most people make a decision at the store about what bag they will use for their groceries.

These tips will help shoppers get the most from reusable bags.

Save some bags for emergencies. Buy several bags. Some bags can be kept in your car or in a visible place in your house. Keep lightweight bags folded and in your purse.

– Designate bags for different purposes. Separate bags should be labeled for fish, meat, and vegetables. For frozen and refrigerated foods, you might want to buy one or two insulated bags. You can dry the bags on a clothesline if cold foods sweat or dampen them.

– Add your reusable bag to your shopping list. Make a note of your bag when you make your shopping list.

You need to think beyond the supermarket. Take a few bags with you to use for non-food purposes, and keep them handy when you visit the convenience store or mall.

Buy a new bag if your reusable bags get lost. You will remember to bring your bags to the store if you buy enough bags. You can make your money count by buying bags from charities such as Americans Helping Americans or Running Strong for American Indian Youth. For more information, please visit