Friday, November 03, 2006

What Can We All Do About It?

Many conveniences we hardly give thought to have a hidden cost. There is the environmental cost and there is even the cost we did not know about before. Consider the plastic grocery bag. Would you be asking for paper or plastic if you knew that bags costs you five cents for each one?

We do need something to carry home the vittles in, not to mention all those other things sold in food stores that aren't food but that need to be toted home. I want to know why grocery stores aren't buying their bags made from corn-based starches that degrade naturally. I found out that I can buy biodegradable trash bags for $5.00 to $6.00 a roll from But at our house, we use the plastic grocery bags to carry out our trash. I'd really appreciate it if I could get the grocery bags that are biodegradable, even if I had to pay ten cents for each bag instead of the five cents each bag costs me now. They cost you, too. Did you know that some grocery stores, such as our Ralphs, give you a credit if you bring back your grocery sacks and ask that the groceries be bagged in them? Recently, I have carried six bags with me in the car. I got thirty cents off my order when I remembered to carry them with me to the check-out. I don't always remember, but I am trying to make a habit of it. Thirty cents isn't much, but it is less plastic going into the landfill. I'll bet sometimes the bagger uses a dozen bags on my larger orders. That's sixty cents. I would bring a coupon to the store to save thirty cents, or sixty cents, I reason, so why not return and reuse the bags?

Whole Foods has sturdier plastic bags that would last through several shopping trips. I have to get in the habit of remembering those bags somehow, too, when I go on my less frequent trips to their store. I like the store but can't get some products I need there. Also some people call it Whole Paycheck instead of Whole Foods. They also sell a sturdier plastic bag one is supposed to be able to bring back and forth for months. I am not certain it fits in their bag-filling contraption, however. I don't want to be unpopular holding up the line.

I do know that the Trader Joe's canvas bags do not fit in the bagging contraption and don't stand up by themselves the way that paper bags do. I own a couple of them and sometimes do remember to take them when I shop there, which is also now and then. They are environmentally more responsible but do have the problem of slowing down the bagging.

I do ask for paper bags at all the stores once in awhile. We pack our newspapers into them for recycling. I try not to ask for paper bags all that often. Think about how long it takes to grow a tree. Do you know what a pulp mill smells like? Paper is too precious a resource to me to use throw-away paper bags for bringing home the groceries.


Blogger The Glasers said...

In Europe people shop more often and bring their own bags. My Oma used to have a supply of her own bags. She did not drive a car and took the bus or walked to the store. She had bottled drinks delivered to her appartment.

I have to be more careful with plastic bags because they give me welts sometimes! I can just see the looks I'd get at the Piggly Wiggly showing up with my own canvas bags. Tee hee hee!

4:41 AM  

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