Saturday, September 23, 2006

Paper or plastic?

I have this thing about plastic grocery bags. I hate them. They don't hold my groceries together in the back of the car, allowing everything to roll all over the place when I take corners. Stores use WAY too many of them. But the worst thing about all those bags is how many of them I see every day tied up in some tree somewhere. I cringe when I see a grocery bag entwined in a tree limb, flapping in the breeze.

I remember when they started the changeover from paper to plastic. There was a lot of debate, and every store made an effort to ask their customers, "paper or plastic?" Remember those powdery-feeling biodegradable bags? What ever happened to those? (I remember reading that they weren't that much better than the regular ones. I dunno though.)
So, I try to avoid getting plastic bags at the store, and when I see them in trees and bushes and whatnot, I pick them up. I save the bags we do get, and bring them back to the store to recycle. I try to bag my own groceries, because when I ask the bagger kid to do it, they sigh at me.
Today, I went to Market Basket, and bought groceries for our dinner tonight. I asked for paper bags. The kid put two items in a paper bag, and then, I swear, put the other items into plastic bags, and put them into the paper bag. He individually wrapped, in plastic, the eggs, the milk, the chicken (ok, raw chicken, I can see that) and the bottle of hand soap. I worked at a grocery store once, and I was told that soaps are separately bagged so as not to contaminate the food. But seriously, how much contamination can happen in a ten minute car trip? How often do plastic bottles of hand soap burst open in the back of our cars?
So after I checked out, I pulled out of the register area, pulled over my cart, and rebagged my bags, grabbing a bag from a nearby register. Now I have four bags that have been used for two seconds, but they're wet and rumpled. They can't use them again, so I sadly hand them to the manager to put them in the bag recycling bin.
Join me, America. Boycott plastic grocery bags. Pick 'em up when you see them. Endure the hateful stares from bag boys while saving the planet.


"Jimmy Olsen" said...

born on the planet Krypton, Super-YM came to Earth where (disguised as "margmor" - mild-mannered Catholic Youth Ministry coordinator at a gigantic parish in the Archdiocese of Boston) she fearlessly battles against her "Arch" enemies for truth, justice and Common Sense - all while finding time to multitask and save the planet from the evil plastic bag invasion.

sandi said...

I'm with you! I detest plastic bags, but I also hate using paper too...the trees and all. Some people are motivated and industrious enough to take their own canvas bag each time and bag their own groceries. I am very impressed by that.

I once asked a bagger not to bag my ONE item at all; I mean, how hard is it to carry a package of butter out the door? She refused; she said the management TOLD her she must bag everything. Ugh.
So she bagged it, and then I unbagged it, left the bag and left the store. I haven't shopped there since.

margmor said...

See, Sandi, we're kindred spirits! I go to a farm stand to get lunch and apples on my way to work- sometimes I'm just buying one thing, like a container or soup or a container from the salad bar, and the counter people reflexively put everything in a bag. It's already in a container! Do we REALLY need containers for our containers? It just drives me nuts!

HerMajesty00 said...

LOl I was thinking how when you just pop into Cumbies for milk or milk and bread and they are caught off guard when you say you dont need a bag!
We all gotta do our small steps.They thought computers would save trees but instead we use more paper than ever....

eleutherius said...

I had heard a study years ago that said the damage to the environment was the same from paper and plastic. Paper because it takes up a heck of a lot more space then the plastic ones and plastic because it takes longer to degrade. However, you could and should save your bags and bring them to a local food pantry, the two in the towns around where I work are always desperate for them and you get to be an even bigger tree huggin hippy by helping the poor at the same time you help the environment.

pflan said...

Hmmm funny, I get plastic and then I recycle them when I clean the litter box. Also, at work I re-use them as trash can liners for my desk trash.

But I do understand your feelings on the overuse of bags ... my cats however appreciate that I have bags on hand when needed.

pflan said...

Great idea on the food pantry - they ARE always looking for bags! Perfect solution!!!!