Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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bag scale

Bag holder indicates single/double bagging
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(+3, -5)
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In my local supermarket, groceries are almost always double bagged, even if it's probably not necessary. Also, the cashier will put less into the bags than they can really hold, just to be safe and avoid the risk of breaking a bag.

This is pretty wasteful.

Suppose the gadget which dispenses/holds bags open while they are being filled had a scale underneath it, to keep track of how much weight is in the bag being filled.

This scale wouldn't indicate weight with a dial or digital display; it would indicate weight with a simple led light, indicating "single bag," "double bag," "triple bag," or "too much for any number of bags."

As the bagger fills up the bag on the scale, which light is activated would change, possibly accompanied by an audible bell, to notify him/her to either add another bag, or remove the last item and put the bag into the cart.

This idea could even be implemented mechanically, though I expect digital would be cheaper.

goldbb, Jan 20 2009

Plastic bags aren’t that bad for environment, study finds http://www.greenwis...udy-finds-2135.aspx
Or: plastic bags are bad for the environment and so is everything else. [idris83, Apr 05 2011]


       There are factors other than weight in the critical failure of shopping bags. To demonstrate this stack three bricks in the bottom of a bag. Most shopping bags will tear under this load. Now spread the bricks on the bottom of the bag. Generally the bag will survive. Distribution of load is as critical as total weight. A plastic bag cannot lift a single sharp knife, if the point is facing down.
WcW, Jan 21 2009

       We already have bag scales here in Aus at most woolworths stores but we more commonly use greenbags over plastic bags these days so there's no plastic bag waste at all.
Taranoch, Jan 21 2009

       Here in Canada, grocery chains are working diligently to deprecate plastic bags. Shoppers purchase very inexpensive ($0.25) reusabale cloth bags, which we bring back to the store the next time we shop. Many grocers have eradicated plastic altogether.   

       Inventing a complex method for metering these bags is silly when the better solution is to stop using them entirely. So this one gets a fishbone from me --
gonzola, Jan 21 2009

       I'm with you on that one gonzola. The cloth bags are the way to go.
Taranoch, Jan 21 2009

       How about you hang the bag _from_ the scale. At my local store, when you're filling up a bag on a self- service station, the bag overfills and it's awkward. If it was hanging, no stability issues. Also, there could be a "next bag" button.
hipparchus2000, Apr 04 2011

       A recent study in the UK suggested that a fabric bag would have to be re-used 131 times to recover its environmental cost compared with a plastic bag used just once. [link]
idris83, Apr 05 2011

       //a fabric bag would have to be re-used 131 times// That's not unrealistic... actually not even close to being unrealistic. [ldris] where's your cite for that ? The link concerns a comparison to a heavier plastic bag (and mentions 4x).
FlyingToaster, Apr 05 2011

       That 131 times is for a woven cotton bag, which is likely to be durable for that sort of life. A non-woven reusable bag only needs to be used 13 times, the heavy duty plastic bags are the ones that need to be used 4 times compared to the light weight standard bags.   

       All of those are within the lifespan of the appropriate re-usable bags, I've had my non-woven re-usables for 4 or 5 years now, using them about once a week, and they're still going strong.
MechE, Apr 05 2011

       One of the food stores in the neighbourhood solved *their* problem of recycling cardboard boxes by making them available to customers.   

       But yes, I've a cloth bag, which is still in the same shape as when I got it, for light usage, and a larger nylon bag, which seams will eventuallly give out seeing as I regularly toss about 20 kilos into it.   

       Be honest though: the whole shopping bag problem is orders of magnitude away from that of item-packaging from the manufacturer/distributors.
FlyingToaster, Apr 05 2011


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