#PghToteChallenge Final Thoughts

Hard to believe, but the Tote Bag Challenge is officially complete! One fine (in the tune of a donated tote bag) is all that we were charged.

Yesterday, we spent time at the I Made It Market! Jr and Family day at Bakery Square. We took around one of our favorite totes to hold our goodies:

After our day out, I went on our big grocery trip. We’re talking “massive”, happens every other month big. The cashier and bagger were awesome. Somehow, I almost ran out of space in all my bags and there was a near grocery bag incident; however, I quickly explained the Challenge importance and found extra space in a lighter bag. About 20 tote bags fill later, I was checked out and on my way back home.

2 months’ worth of staple groceries packed into tote bags and the Durango!

Next, it was time for ‘lil Miss A and I to go to the Tote Bag Project’s Anniversary Celebration. A was hyped up the most, jumping all over the Crazy Mocha rugs (and she was the one drinking water) and pulling the raffle prizes. She was the lucky winner of a pretty nifty re-purposed license plate purse.

Afterwards, she asked for a hamburger and fries (what is it with us and Tote Bag events/Wendy’s or Pens games/Wendy’s?), so in we went with our trusty dinner to go tote. She proudly put the tote on the counter and we easily got the food in the bag. Since it was her food, she happily carried the bag over her shoulder and out the door. I think the lessons learned have even filtered to the kids!

(If you’d like to see more photos from our day, check out our Earth Day Flickr set and the TBP Anniversary Celebration Flickr Set! Keep in mind…I was using this day to get used to my new 50mm lens…so there’s definitely a learning curve in the photos!)

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All in all, this Challenge has been a great insight for us, and we will surely think more about using reusable bags more often than not. We are thankful for the sponsors, pledges, and donors who we’ve inspired this week. Tote Bag Project? Thanks for letting us join in the fun!

#PghToteChallenge Day 6 Thoughts

Yesterday was day 6 of the Tote Bag Project’s Tote Challenge. Sticking with traditions, we headed to the big screen and had to grab dinner on our way there. (Aside, I sure hope this doesn’t put a damper on my efforts to drop a few more pounds before Mud on the Mountain!) I took the tote bag in because of all the interesting situations we’ve had in the drive thru, and the cashier was confused but not unfriendly.

(In case you’re wondering, I turn the bag inside out because it has a plastic outside, making it easier to clean.)

Oh, caught a cool tote in action at work today. The owner told me they always use totes for groceries because it just makes sense.

And sadly, leaving the Big Screen, I saw this bag floating around as we drove:

Limited chances to slip up, but we are continuing to do well. Today is the last day, but there are lessons that are going to stick with us for a long time.

‘lil Burghers 5, disposable bags 1

#PghToteChallenge Day 5 Thoughts and Couponing

Today felt like it was way too easy. In a way, I had to wonder if I broke the rules again with a pre-packaged version of oatmeal, but, as instructed, I was able to recycle it (see?)

Lunch, as usual, was in my lunch tote, and Mr. Burgher and the kids stayed at home and did lawn work and A cleaned her toy room (ahem). There were no opportunities for a slip up for them.

One of my co-workers was caught with two tote bags (but the saddest thing is that he’s the same person who had the bright yellow one the other day). Another co-worker made me smile because she took two huge bags of disposable bags to our recycle box, win!

After work, I went to coupon. Most of my trip involved 12-packs of Pepsi Next, so that was clearly not going into a bag. At the first store, it was plenty easy to ask for my items to be thrown in a tote bag (the same one we used yesterday for our dinner). I had to go to another store because the first one was out of what I needed, but from experience, I knew the items I’d be picking up were small enough to toss in my purse and go.

It was straight home to cook dinner and pack one more lunch for the week. With just two days left, I think it’s safe to say we’ve really been thinking about the impact of our choices. Saturday could be a different challenge with I Made It Market! Jr (have you seen the goodies? If not, check out this giveaway and the others I’ve linked…most end tomorrow!!!). (Shameless promtion!)

‘lil Burghers 4; disposable bags 1.

#PghToteChallenge Day 2 Thoughts

It’s Day 2 of the Tote Bag Challenge and we did pretty good. You’ve made a dollar, though, Tote Bag Project. Mr. Burgher just realized the diaper purchase went straight into a plastic bag. I can’t blame him, he’s constantly trying to balance coupons, two kids, and making sure he does everything just right. Forgiven, right?

I did question whether or not the pretzels I had as a snack today counted as a penalty, but since they were pre-packaged, they did not.

At work, I took a photo of a co-worker’s tote bag in action. He uses this tote to bring in his lunch, and I’ve always noticed it because it’s bright. It’s great to know I work alongside others who are thinking green!

2 days into Challenge
$1 in penalties

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While you are here, why don’t you enter this giveaway for a set of felt play food? The artist will be at I Made It! Market Jr on Saturday, and we’d love for you to have a set of her goodies!

#PghToteChallenge Day 1 Thoughts

Well, the ‘lil Burghers almost forgot that today started Earth Week and the Tote Bag Challenge, but we’re proud to say that we have not had to claim a $1 penalty through day 1!

This morning when I woke up, I went downstairs to get started on the kids’ brunch and pack my Monday lunch. I realized the fridge needed some cleaning, so I reached for a grocery bag to collect trash items. I was one step away from the pile that needs to get to the recycle bin when it hit me…the Challenge started today! It was time to think about how not to use a bag to get the trash to the trash can…this involved several trips to the trash (and thus extra burnt calories, win). The sad thing is that it made Mr. Burgher and I realize how much food we let spoil or go to waste (mostly leftovers from the kids’ meals that they let sit out way too long). Hunger is a problem, and we shouldn’t be so wasteful, but that’s another challenge to take on. One bag avoided.

The next step was easy, packing my lunch. I bought a Wrap-N-Mat months ago to carry my sandwiches, and I have to say I am in love with it. It doubles as a placemat (if needed) and keeps the food fresh. We have plenty of Rubbermaid containers that I use, plus some really great always fresh green containers for storing veggies and fruits (thanks, Mom!). It makes packing lunch a breeze. If only my trusty lunchbag wasn’t getting a big tear in it, I’d feel set!

As I packed my lunch, I had some pre-Challenge veggie/fruit bags from the grocery store, but I realized that they could be recycled. You know, we never realized that before, but now these will go in the pile to be recycled!

The rest of our day was pretty laid back and lazy, so that meant no grocery shopping, no couponing, and no chance of slipping up with a plastic bag! We’ll be considering day 1 of the Challenge a huge success!

We’re Taking a Challenge and Need Your Help! #PghToteChallenge

(Want to check out the rest of the participants in the Challenge? Check them out here!)

In celebration of Earth Week, our family is going to be taking on a challenge…the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project’s Tote Bag Challenge!

Using tote bags isn’t something new to us, but it (admittedly) isn’t something we always think about. Sure, we use tote bags to make sure the kids have an adequate stash of diapers, clothes, and snacks during day trips. My lunch bag is always a cooler (no brown bagging here). The problem is, we do not always remember to use our tote bags when we coupon or grocery shop (shh, I know, I know!). We really could benefit from a reward system for using our bags (but even Target’s 5 cents off doesn’t even give us enough oomph to always remember).

Next week, things are going to have to change. The Challenge will ask us to use reusable bags, and for every time we slip, we’ll be giving $1 to the Project to buy totes. That includes carryout, groceries, lunches. We can do this, right?

A few days out from the start of the Challenge, I have some thoughts that I hope we can consciously work around. Like when grocery shopping, there are “green bags” for veggies…but those bags sure aren’t green (unless we take them to the recycle bins for plastic bags)! Or when couponing. A quick run in to a store is going to require some thinking.

Good thing the challenge isn’t about whether we succeed or fail. It’s about whether we stick it out. There are sponsors who are donating bags based on the 11 participants success (awesome). And here is where you come in. We’d like to get friends and family to sponsor us for our participation. Would you consider donating 7 bags (1 for each day) to the Project? How about 14? Let me know by commenting below, and I will gloat share your efforts with our fellow participants.

If you’d like to find out more about the Challenge or the Project, follow on Twitter or “like” on Facebook for more!

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If you are new to ‘lil Burghers and want to know a little bit more about our family and why we joined the Tote Bag Challenge, here you go!

We are the ‘lil Burghers, Mrs. Burgher (a working mama), Mr. Burgher (a Stay at Home Dad and extreme couponer), ‘lil Miss A (our sassy three year old daughter), and ‘lil Man (our one year old son). We are trying to raise our kids to be the best for themselves, our country, and our world. While we do not always think green, we are trying our best and look forward to learning about how we can all do our part.