Are re-usable bags as good as we think?

In an effort to reduce my contribution to the Plastic Soup in our oceans, I take re-usable shopping bags with me wherever I go. There is one in my purse at all times, and I usually have a bin with additional bags in my trunk. If I've don't have enough with me, then I usually ask for paper bags since those become paper recycling containers (or toys) at my house. I've even managed to convince hubby to bring bags or use paper (well, most of the time).

Which brings me to Design Observer's fantastic article, "Paper, plastic or canvas?" Turns out that even re-usable bags are becoming so commoditized these days, that everyone is giving them away and they are hiding in our closets, cupboards and drawers. And since it takes so much more energy to produce one of these suckers than it does to make a plastic bag, the question is being posed: if we consume the bags like everything else, are we really being environmentally friendly?

Do we need to start refusing cloth too? How many cloth bags are lying around your house? Interesting thought, isn't it?