Sunday, June 3, 2007

Plastic *is* my bag...

It's my environmental skeleton in the closet. My pack a day. My NKOTB poster. I love plastic grocery bags, and I don't want you to take them away.

There is a growing movement worldwide to get rid of plastic bags. "Plastic Ain't My Bag" is one in the UK. Ireland has cut the amount of plastic bags by 90%. San Fransisco has already banned them. [Taking Aim at All Those Plastic Bags, NY Times 4/1/07] Boston and NYC are supposedly trying to ban them too.

Typical plastic bags require oil to be produced (another way, use up our non-renewable resources), they don't biodegrade for 500-1000 years (depending who you ask) and they cause problems for wildlife as well. Plus, they make horrible children's toys.

How could I avoid the facts and still idolize them?

  • They are free, strong, leakproof garbage bags (which is technically re-using...)
  • They have handles that work. Those of us without cars have a hard time carrying groceries without handles.
  • They're free.
If I were a better planner, I could bring a bag to the supermarket to schlep my goods home, but that would require WAY too much forethought. When my supermarket gives me paper bags with strong handles (made from recycled paper, of course) without the choice of plastic, I'm game. Then the search will be on for cheap biodegradable apartments-sized garbage bags. Until then, I have to look my unborn children in their hypothetical eyes with a deep sense of shame.

For more information and facts, check out the Conserve Plastic Bags blog. There is a wealth of information on these silent killers.


I. M. Bitter said...

lol, I'll keep my bag too. Every once in a while I plan ahead and bring a bag to work then haul all my goods home with it. Most time time I don't. I've gotten used to asking them not to double bag my stuff.

Last week, I asked the Borders checker to put my books into my Whole Foods bag. The security officer at the doors didn't think too highly of that...


kitty said...

this is a pet peeve of mine - if you have to use a bag, whether to use a plastic one and save a tree, or to use a paper one, which can degrade. I guess that's what makes biodegradable plastic the best choice.

I usually wave the bag away if I only have a couple items. They know me at the deli as the woman who doesn't want the bag, and I mess up their flow.

We have the habit, too, of telling the delivery guys not to bring utensils, so we don't have to toss plastic silverware. We mess up their flow, too!