It’s fundamental: Paper or plastic?…say NEITHER!

About a year ago, following a trip to the grocery store, I looked around my kitchen and saw the carnage of my trip – an armload of plastic bags. My city had stopped accepting them in the recycling (because it supposedly takes too many bags to create enough volume to recycle), so I had been saving them… and the area under my sink was ready to explode. So I made the decision to make a change. I bought reusable non-woven poly bags… one dozen of them, at a whopping cost of $12! That is sarcastic, of course, because it is the best dozen bucks I ever spent.

When you think about the number of bags that wind up in your house on a weekly basis, it’s no wonder EPA data has placed the annual worldwide usage of plastic bags somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion! They’re a horrible source of litter, they don’t biodegrade, they end up polluting landfills and waterways, and they affect animals, the earth, water supplies and… (surprise, surprise!) …us! I can hardly respond to that. It’s just mind boggling. So yeah, I’ll do my part.

Of course, I saw a decrease in the volume under the sink, but it still filled up with all of the other retail bags… Children’s Place, Old Navy, Target, Walgreen’s…a big colorful tower of MORE BAGS! So, six months ago, I went one step further. I bought a few more bags specifically for non-grocery shopping. There is not a situation on the planet that I don’t have a reusable bag to accommodate, unless it’s simply too large to use a bag. After they’re brought into the house and unloaded, they go right back to the car…never to be forgotten when another shopping trip pops-up. Sure, I’ve been all the way inside a store on occasion and remembered that they are still tucked away in the car so, yep… I roll my eyes at myself and hoof it back to the car and get them. It’s worth the walk.

Please join me. Buy reusable bags. It’s a wonderful first step.

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

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19 thoughts on “It’s fundamental: Paper or plastic?…say NEITHER!

  1. Morning Dor!
    So first thing I did when I got to work today was check your blog for a new post…great way to start the work day right?! I’ve got ya bookmarked!

    I had to laugh at “rolling your eyes at yourself” when you forget the bags in the car. I have done that so many times…actually it’s probably about every time I go to the store. Although I’ve bought the bags, it’s still not 2nd nature yet to remember to get them out of the trunk. I definitely need to go the extra step and get non-retail specific bags for other shopping.

    Another perk of reusable bags – no more rolling groceries in the trunk and no more plastic bag sound. Maybe it’s just me and my weird little things but I cannot stand to hear the crinkling of the bags in the trunk. It drives me crazy! So now my groceries stay all nice and neat in a little row in the back and I can drive in silence (screaming kids aside).

    Re-usable bags are great for so much more than shopping too. I take mine to work w/ my lunch, shoes for walking, etc. – whatever I might have that won’t fit in my laptop bag. They are perfect for throwing some jammies or extra clothes in when we’re running over to mom and dad’s when a true diaper bag isn’t necessary. I love ’em!

    talk to you soon and i’ll be checking in often. Say hi to Jim and the fam for us!

  2. Joel, I’m going to build a link page on this blog for Doreen and I will include you there no problem. Please link back to this blog. Anyone else who has green content sites we’d love to exchange links.

  3. I shop a lot at Big Box “Sam’s Club” store… so we used to use their cardboard boxes… Now I have some of those neat fold up boxes that I just carry into the store.

    I know it doesn’t cut down on their cardboard use… but at least I don’t have them to deal with when I get home.

    I just have to remember to put them back in the car as soon as I am done unloading. Else… I don’t have em at the store. sound familiar?

  4. Kristie – you’re too funny! I’m calling your house every day and leaving bag crinkling sounds on your answering machine! 🙂 But you’re absolutely right…those bags are useful for so many reasons. They really pay for themselves in no time and keep those horrible plastic bags out of landfills! I’m glad you’ll be visiting me often!

    Joel – Thanks and looks like Jim handled things on this end.

    Debra – yep, the key is putting them right back in the car after they’re unloaded! And it’s not so bad to take their boxes as long as they make their way to the recycling, right?!

  5. Here in the UK some of the major retail stores are beginning to charge customers for plastic bags in an effort to change consumer behavior.

    I’ve purchased a couple of reusable bags from the supermarket made out of jute which are actually easier to use than the plastic ones.

    There has been talk of introducing a tax on plastic bags similar to the one introduced by the Irish government which led to a significant reduction in plastic bag usage.

  6. Farouq – Thanks for visiting! The UK is sooo far ahead of us when it comes to adopting eco-friendly practices. I think it’s inevitable that retailers will move away from plastic, but we’re moving at a snail’s pace right now! And I couldn’t agree more about reusable bags being easier to use than plastic!

  7. Yo sis, pretty cool! I get the reusable bags at conventions for free! I will have to grab a few for you. Throwing a few in the trunk right now. Now I just need something to throw used newspapers in before they go in the recycling!

  8. Bro – YOU need to use those bags!!! I have plenty! Now get green! 🙂

    mama bird – glad you found the post and bravo on your choice to go plastic bag free….it’s a GREAT choice!

  9. Im going to take the same steps you did.I agree that i have way to many of these bags stuck in all kind of places .Where did you find them for $12 .Some one needs to come up with a plan to get these bags out of the landfills.Their must be a better alteritve to plastic bags and its not paper.Im sure before to long someone will make something out of these bags for the good of the planet.

    bitgreeners last blog post..What creates green clothing?

  10. bitgreener – I’m not sure where you live, but all of my local grocery stores carry them – only 99 cent each! My local Walgreen’s (have those?) sell a version that isn’t already branded with their logo, so I use them for all of my other non-grocery, retail shopping – also 99 cents each! Many large retailers are jumping on board – and I’ve seen them for somewhere between 99 cent and $1.49 or so. I really, really believe that before long, retailers are going to need to cave under pressure and will move away from plastic. Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but that’s what keeps me going! 🙂

  11. Pingback: » Read my reusables… NO PLASTIC! - Mom Goes Green

  12. LMM – nope, no affliliate links for shopping bags… I really don’t HAVE many affiliate links… how dumb am I???

  13. Ahhh…I didn’t notice that “Eco Shop Now” button – I did notice a helpful Google ad for it, though. 😉 And NO! You are NOT dumb, silly! You’re doing totally awesome and GREAT work here, lady!!!

  14. Pingback: » A green gift basket for the earth. - Mom Goes Green

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