Monday, March 10, 2008

Plastic bags - the scourge of the earth

Ok, people, it's time to stop burying your head in the sand when it comes to plastic bags. Soon that sand will be littered with pieces of plastic bags anyway and you'd probably suffocate. So let's talk about your next trip to the grocery store.

Of all the "green" steps you can take, reducing or eliminating your use of plastic bags is probably the easiest one. Americans consume 370 BILLION plastic bags per year. Need to read that again?

American consume 370 BILLION plastic bags per year. 370,000,000,000.

Only 1% of them are recycled. Recycling them is expensive, and many environmentalists suspect that even the bags in many of the plastic bag recycling stations at your local grocery store end up in the landfill. The list of negative environmental consequences is lengthy, so if you think I'm just being melodramatic to make a point, Google "plastic bags and environment" and find out for yourself what we're doing to our planet just so we can carry our carton of eggs to the car. If you don't have a lot of time to do the legwork, here's a nice article from CNN:

Of course, there's no use bringing up a problem if you have nothing to offer as a solution. Which is why I have a solution. As I said earlier, reducing your usage of plastic bags is really, really, really simple: BRING YOUR OWN BAGS. I bought some simple canvas bags last year, like so: Now when I do my weekly grocery and Target shopping, I bring these along. Because I have a hard time just remembering to bring my wallet to the store, I keep the bags in the trunk of my car at all times. Besides, you never know when you'll make an impromptu stop at Whole Foods (danger! danger!). Not only are the bags environmentally friendly, but they hold a lot more food and are so much stronger than either plastic or paper bags from the grocery store. Trust me, it's a win-win situation. OK, so you may feel like a dork handing over your glob of semi-dirty canvas bags to the perplexed check-out girl, but she'll eventually figure it out, and if you're not me, you can always wash them regularly so at least they're clean.

Please, people, I'm bagging you (tee hee), get yourself some reusable bags and reuse them! Whole Foods is selling reusable bags for 99 cents now - you really are running out of excuses. Do you honestly want to be responsible for that poor dead turtle who suffocated on the Wal-Mart bag you used to carry your fish food?

No comments: