Plastic Bags, Still Everywhere

4 years ago

They don't really ask you, "Paper or plastic?" anymore, do they?  They simply offer plastic.  Maybe if you are somewhere hip like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, you have a paper option but most people at these establishments are bringing their own bags anyway. 

Image: velkr0 via Flickr

I always bring my own, reusable bag wherever I go.  Grocery stores, Target, the drug store, everywhere.  If I forget my bag, I would rather buy a new, reusable bag than accept plastic as my option. 

I am not sure where my disdain for plastic bags really started.  Our reliance on fossil fuels to produce them?  Maybe.  How they choke the life out of fish and wildlife?  Definitely. The fact that I see citizens walking out of a store with two items in a plastic shopping bag? Most definitely!

This post is not a look into why reusable bags are better, my campaign to ban them everywhere, or a deeper study of the environmental impacts of the bags.  This post is simply to ask:  "Why must there always be a plastic bag involved in my transaction?"

What does this mean?  Without fail, a clerk will always try to give me a plastic bag against my will.  I am fine with jam packed, heavy reusable bags.  So, when I request that "I want everything in these bags....and if it doesn't fit, just leave them on the side...", I mean it! Why would I say otherwise? Yet, somehow the clerk will find a way to work a plastic bag into the transaction.  


I was at the Dollar Tree today and I knew all my items would fit in the oversized bag I had brought.  The clerk proceeded to pile (I stress haphazardly pile) my items into my bag.  Well, with this method, of course everything would not fit.  We got down to two small tissue boxes.  She shoved them in a plastic bag. I immediately stressed, "Oh, you can just leave those out or toss them on top; I really don't like plastic bags."  

Well, this immediately turned her mood sour.  I guess it's a lot of work to take those two tissue boxes out of the bag as she confessed to the next customer in line as I left, "Oh, I'm hanging in there today.....".  Really?  You sell cheap Chinese crap and shove them into petroleum based bags and I am screwing up your day?  Please. 

But it's not just this episode.  This happens everytime.  Cleaners are shoved in plastic bags and put in my eco-friendly bag.  "No, I don't need that bag...".  "But what if the cleaners leak?"  "So, I will sue the company.  DON'T GIVE ME A PLASTIC BAG!!!!"  Just put my items in my Chico Bag and be done with it.

I am trying to set a good example for my children; there is no need for excess.  We live in such a packaged, pre-made, I-don't-need-to-put-forth-any-effort world.  Let's change that, one bag at a time.

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