About a month ago I was in the checkout line at Target. The women in line in front of me told the cashier she didn’t want any plastic bags. She has a pretty full cart of items and hadn’t brought any reusable bags with her. I think the cashier and I must have both made the same perplexed face because she explained that she would just put the items back in her cart. Then she went on and told me that her 2011 New Years Resolution was to avoid plastic bags and how easy it is to cart purchases out to the car without a bag.
This was a light bulb, a-ha moment for me. I remember to take my reusable bags to the grocery store about 85% of the time, but even if I forget I can request a paper bag. I don’t have that luxury at other stores so I often just let the items be bagged up. And really, that’s quite silly and a little lazy on my part. How hard would it be to just carry out all the items without a bag like this woman did?
This got me thinking and after talking to Nate about it, we both decided to impose a plastic bag ban for 2012.
Our plastic bag ban rules are simple.
- Use a reusable bag if possible and if we don’t have one, then we will kindly refuse a bag and simply take the items without one.
- Use reusable produce bags (like these) at the grocery store. Mesh bags are lightweight and easy-to-see-through so you don’t have to worry about checkout. I have had a set for a couple of years and am always asked where I got them. I plan on ordering a few more sets this week.
- Cut down on other plastic bags around the house. Use recycled or compostable bags whenever possible. (I think this is a nice compromise especially with the kitchen bag liners. We will keep the convenience, but pay more for the more sustainable product.)
- Reduce our dependence on resealable zipper storage bags in the kitchen. Use glass containers instead for marinades and snacks.
Already this week, I had a couple of shopping trips where I had to ask the cashier not to bag my items. You have to be quick. Those cashiers are so fast on the draw, so I plan on stepping up my game. Soon I hope requesting “no bag” will be second nature.
I leave you with this mockumentary on the life of a plastic bag that was narrated by Jeremy Irons which is unfortunately true.