It's my goal to go bag-free as soon as I can. I've been using the cloth grocery bags for awhile now except for when I forget them at home. I mentally whip myself for my forgetfulness when I get to the store, so I'm thinking I'll learn my lesson soon and grabbing them will become part of my routine.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought three smaller cloth bags to use for other types of shopping. They were a great deal at $1 each (and one was only 50 cents because the stiffener for the bottom was missing. I plan to leave at least one of these in my car all them time. Whenever I go in a store, I need to get in the habit of taking one of those bags with me.
I've noticed some clerks at some stores (Walgreens and Borders come to mind) now ask whether or not I want a bag. I like this. It makes me think about it, and many times I don't need one. If they just stick my stuff in a bag without asking, I might be too distracted by my thoughts or by Pipsqueak to realize that I don't really need a bag for a bottle of Tylenol and a pack of gum.
My reasons for wanting to go bag-free are global and selfish. Of course, we all know we can save trees and petroleum if we don't use paper or plastic bags. Then there is the matter of bags clogging landfills, or blowing around and hurting wildlife. But there is another place that's being clogged up with these things.... MY HOME. I have piles of plastic bags that I refuse to throw in the trash, but I have to find a place to recycle them or reuse them. Pipsqueak's dance teacher cuts them into strips and knits them into tote bags. I always admire them, but I've got such a large yarn stash that it'll be a long time before I resort to plastic bags for knitting. Finally, I hate the sound of plastic bags. Sweetie calls them "sizzle bags" because the windows are down and the wind is hitting one, it sounds like it's sizzling.
I guess I will always have a need for a paper or plastic bag now and again. Something tells me that I always have a few kicking around.