Two Years, One Plastic Grocery Bag

Last year I wrote about my venture in not bringing home plastic grocery bags.

It’s gotten way easier not to bring them home. Most of the time when I empty my reusable shopping bags I take them right back to the car.

I think I’ve also convinced one or two people to try the same thing. I’ve started that effort by just telling the clerk I’ve now gone two years and only used one plastic grocery bag. Usually they are surprised. After a couple asked me how I did it, I realized I could add a bit more to my elevator pitch about the darn things.

“Over the last 2 years I’ve only brought one plastic bag home,” I say, then quickly add, “I had to learn to handle my trash differently.”

If they show any interest at all I then explain I do it the old fashioned way, by lining my trash cans with the junk mail I get which keeps the cans fairly clean and easy to empty. Once and awhile someone will say something like “I’m going to try that.”

Meanwhile, the bags keep piling up, and spreading out. Californians Against Waste says ” Barely recyclable, almost all of the 400 plastic bags used per second in the state are discarded.” Four-hundred plastic bags per second! Imagine what that number must be world around! maps the five gyers, one for each ocean, backed up by serious research.

It boils down to we need to quit using as much plastic as possible, and encourage legislation that outlaws plastic bags, or at least charges for them. These measures will help. They are part of the direction we need to go if humans are to mitigate global warming.

And why did I bring home one plastic bag?

I thought I ‘needed’ it.

I clean the Buddha Hall almost every Saturday at Sweetwater Zen Center where I live. There are two waste baskets in the hall and it’s entry room. When I started this gig, each had a plastic bag. I emptied those umteen times. Once I tried putting a paper bag in one and someone switched it out with plastic.

What I need to do and will is speak out about the plastic bags we use here.

I don’t know why I haven’t except it’s always easier for me to write about something than speak out. Anyway, I brought one plastic bag to use in the Buddha Hall. But I haven’t used it there. Instead the darn thing is still in my house. I can’t put it in recycling because here they won’t take them. Maybe I’ll turn it into an art piece or just store something in it until it becomes someone elses problem.

So let me challenge you. Will you work to stop using plastic grocery bags? Let us know in comments.

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Miller January 27, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I haven’t used plastic bags for years and years! 🙂

Lori January 27, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I’m the reigning Earth Mother here at home. If they bring it home in plastic, that bag goes right back to the local grocery store for recycling.

We have more cloth bags than any one house should have, but they use them!

annew January 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Good for you! Now, how do we get rid of them?

Cathy Miller January 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm

We can bring them back to the store for recycling here.

annew January 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Here too…. doing more research soon on all of this…

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