More about cloth vs plastic:

The choice of cloth tote bag versus plastic disposable bag is debated by many.  It depends what you consider when judging them.  The resources needed to produce and transport a plastic disposable bag are less than for a cotton cloth tote bag, so you have to use a cotton cloth tote bag for years to break even on the resource usage.  Cloth tote bags can be made from other materials besides cotton; long lasting tote bags are also made from a light weight woven synthetic material which minimizes resource usage.  

Plastic disposable bags that you use to bring home groceries can be reused for your small garbage cans in place of purchased plastic disposable bags.  The big problem is that many plastic bags find their way outside, snagged in trees and floating on creeks, then rivers, into the ocean where they kill wildlife.  And nobody wants that.