Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Plastic Bags

This is my story for the local Democratic Womens newsletter....enjoy!

It's thin and flimsy, great for holding things, available at everRecycley store and will live for more than 100 years in a landfill; the plastic bag.

It is the epitome of Western Capitalization, according to The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. These bags do not biodegrade. They sit in landfills and break down, spilling their toxins into the land and water around them. Often these plastic bags end up in the ocean and can be ingested by sea animals where hundreds of whales, turtles and other marine life die from eating these bags.

There are a number of solutions to this exploding problem. As the website says, "each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime."

Also you can recycle plastic bags by bringing them to local grocery stores or other plastic bag recycling locations. Remember the bags should be clean, dry and empty.

Finally, the next time you are shopping, think before getting the item bagged. Does the one box of cereal need its own bag? Getting just two books from the bookstore, can't they be held in your hand? Going to multiple stores, try to double up on bags, don't get a bag from each store, put items in just one bag.

At the end of the day, it is time to break this non-environmental practice!


Blogger Brenda said...

Great ideas except for when you live in the country, it's a 30 mile round trip to do the shopping, and it takes a pick-up truck to bring your shopping home, have no place to take bags, boxes, newspapers, or glass bottles for recycling unless you can afford to drive 70 or 120 miles to the nearest place that does. I'd recycle everything I could, in a heartbeat.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Merci said...

There has to be an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic bag that the stores can provide. I haven't bought the reusable bags yet, but I plan to do so soon. Still, I know I won't always have one when needed. I also know that they will need maintenance and/or replacement from time to time, since stuff leaks, etc. I hope to find generic bags. I shop at different grocery store chains and convenience stores, and I don't feel like advertising for any of them! But I REALLY hate those plastic bags they give us. Thanks for posting this.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Molly Malone said...

i forget to bring my reusable bag with me like 90% of the time. one way stores can cut down on these is to charge 5 or 10 cents per each plastic bag; that'll remind people fast enough. or do like Whole Foods does and give people a 5 or 10 or 25 cent credit each time they bring a reusable container.

of course, we reuse ours to pick up after the dog.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Molly's idea of charging for the lastic bags. I had a hard time at first remembering to bring mine in to the store until I started keeping one of them on the front seat. It reminds me to grab the others out of the trunk.

7:25 PM  
Blogger my mind wanders said...

Yea! GREAT article. You know I love it. I have a bad I carry with me in my purse at all times, if comes in this handy case, it's small, and whenever I go to the grocery store for a quick trip, I don't have to worry, it's right there. For more planned trips, I have a bunch of bags I bring. It makes it easy. And easy is the key!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Hey - y'all should check out onya bags: They're made out of parachute fabric, so they're really light but really strong, and they squeeze into a tiny little pouch with a carabiner clip which you can then clip onto your key chain. They're perfect for that quick stop to the shops. They're $10 so not hugely cheap, but so, so well worth it.

H - I'm like you and have a bunch of bags I take to the shops for my weekly food shopping.

4:38 PM  
Blogger mommanator said...

I have been yelling about this for awhile and am glad we (the folk) are finally doign something about it. I use those reusable bags all the time. When finished I just go take them in the car. Ikea started me off. They actually dont have those plastic bags any longer- you must bring your own or purchase one of theres. In fact some parts of MD are outlawing them! I think this will be a Big trend! at least I hope so. Come on fellow folk lets get serious about our planet!

12:30 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Brenda - but see you are already conserving by making one big trip instead of driving your car all the time for small trips. That is energy efficient!

Merci - hmm.. you are onto something, an eco-friendly bag. That would be great!

Molly - Good of you to reuse the bags with the adorable dog! As for charging, that is the best quick solution for Americans to stop wasting, man you would really see a change, especially in this economy!

Citizen - I think charging is the key, when I was in Denmark, all of us exchange students learned super FAST that we needed to bring our bags with us or have to buy, which no one wanted. If stores in America charge, more people would use reusable bags for sure!

Mind Wanders - what a smart idea, and yes I think with more ease, more people will use reusable bags.

Kate - thank you for the tip!

Mommanator - Here, here!! Amen to your comment and I am not surprised about Ikea, because they are from Sweden and there almost all the stores make you buy bags if you don't bring your own.

1:40 AM  
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