Plastic. A great invention in some ways; in others, it’s a horror show. Yes, plastic is convenient, a lifesaver (literally), and cheap. But most plastic isn’t biodegradable or recyclable; it is piling up in the oceans and in our landfills and creating a hazard for wildlife.
Giving up plastic is difficult, probably impossible for many people. But, cutting back on how much we use it, or how often? That is POSSIBLE for everyone. We just have to think ahead and get creative.
Like the grocery store that I use. I walked in the other day, did my shopping, and went to the check-out lane. The cashier asked me, “Bags or boxes?”
I stared at her, sure I misheard. Then the bagger at the end of the lane waved an empty cardboard box in the air. On its side read Charmin.
I was immediately impressed. “Boxes, please.”
Normally, a week’s worth of grocery shopping requires 15-20 plastic bags to pack all my purchases.
3 large cardboard boxes.
They could have used small/medium boxes if I’d wanted. They didn’t ask. Kind of like how they no longer card me. I guess it’s readily apparent that I am over 30 and fit. I’ll take half of it as a compliment.
I love this option. I love how my grocery store is taking steps to recycle. I love how they are cutting back on those plastic bags, a menace to the environment.
Granted, such plastic bags can be used more than once – I use my surplus as packing material to store anything fragile such as Christmas ornaments or crystal; line the wastebaskets; and pick up dog poop.
But, I can’t use them up fast enough – because it seems every shop and store uses plastic bags to pack customers’ purchases.
And, they’re not biodegradable. Once you’ve used them once or twice and throw them away — they just sit on our land or in our water and hurt wildlife.
We can do better.
Cutting back on grocery store plastic bags seems like such a small step when you consider how much the world revolves around plastic. But think about the fact I saved the environment 15-20 plastic bags from just this grocery trip alone! You have to appreciate how many plastic bags would never end up in the landfill if we all took this one, or similar, step when we go shopping.
For me, it was eye-opening, and I’m usually quite conscientious about how I treat the environment. Now that I’ve seen what a difference 3 boxes can make, I’m aware of how much more I still can do.
Ask your local grocer or any shop you use if they have bags you can purchase for repeated use. (Many sell their own reusable bags that sport their logos.)
Ask for a box or a brown paper bag instead of plastic.
If you can’t avoid using plastic bags, see if the store that supplies them will take them back to use for other customers.
Got extra plastic bags lying around your house? See if your local schools, churches, community centers, or libraries have any need for them.
What do you do with your plastic bags?