Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bring your own shopping bag
My friend, Carol, from a suburb in the Washington, DC area wrote me a snail mail letter the other day. She told me four things she is doing to save on consumption and waste. She wrote.
"# 4. This is the hardest: remember to take a shopping bag with you & remember to tell the clerk BEFORE they ring you up that you DO NOT need a bag. This is very hard to remember. I often catch them as they're putting my purchases into t abag but I suspect they just throw away the now mussed up bag!"

In the past few weeks, Rebecca and I certainly have found this to be true in most stores. The clerks and the bag people think you are crazy. The seem to have no idea why a person would bring their own bag.

My husband thinks I spend to much money at our Whole Foods Coop in Duluth. So to placate him. I shopped at the Jubilee on Superior St yesterday afternoon. I tried to stay within my values of avoiding excessive packaging. I grabbed a shopping basket and started in the produce aisle. I picked out three ears of corn still in the husks. I started to grab a plastic bag to place the corn in, but then I figured, "They are already in mother nature's protective coating...Why waste a plastic bag." So I just place them in by hand held basket. Then I saw some melons, thinking they would make a good dessert, I started to grab a package of a one-half musk melon, one-half, cantaloupe and a section of watermelon. As I reached for it I noticed that the melons all rested a black Stryrofoam plate-type (like is used for meat) So I decided to get a cut watermelon wrapped in plastic...No Styrofoam used to hold it up.

As I maneuvered around the store, I noticed many items were packaged with plastic. I wondered what I could get for a treat. I settle on some Eddy's ice-cream which was on sale for only $1.00 a pint. It is packaged in a cardboard container.

I informed the cashier that I had my own mesh bag. I put it right on top of a cardboard box so that the bagger or carrier out person would see. As soon as I saw the bag person I informed him of my own bag. He tried to but my corn-on-the-Cobb, still-in-the-husk in my bag, but it was too awkward.

"I will just stick them in this plastic bag," he said.

"No," I said. Let me bag the items. It's okay. " He seemed relieved and went to help at another checkout counter.

I thought about telling him why I was using my own bag, but I don't think he was in the mood.

Today I went to the Farmer's Market, which is only one-and-one-half block from my house. I again purchased some corn-on-the-cobb still in the husks. Again, the farmer wanted to place the corn in a plastic bag. I moved onto another farmer's booth. This farmer either understood what I was doing, or thought I was eccentric. He let me place them in my own bag. I treated myself by purchasing one single stem of a sunflower.

I was ready to leave when I noticed some young women, I am acquainted with wrapping snapdragon stems in newspaper. "Oh," people who are environmentally friendly. I should reward them." So I went over and purchased a little bouquet from them.

When I mentioned to the vendors that I appreciated their use of the newspaper, one said to me. Did you know 1 million plastic bags are thrown away every minute?" I am not sure where she gets her facts....but Prof. Cricket will look into it.

Ohio DNR Recycling Plastic

Plastic bags are like nuke waste

Are plastic bags sacking the environment? National Geographic

1 comment:

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