As of Nov. 1 all bags must be clear!
Saturday this sign was posted at our garbage drop-off. Our bags are of course black. Black-Seventh-Generation-80%-recycled-plastic bags which I purposely sought out two years ago in an effort to reduce our plastic consumption. So I asked about the sign. I was told the switch to clear-plastic bags was being directed by the DNR because our municipality is throwing away too many recyclables. Okay... I am not sure how this is going to help, but if it gets more people to recycle then I guess it it a good thing. EXCEPT that I have oodles and oodles of these black-plastic bags. OODLES!!
Back in 2008 I signed up for Amazon's Subscribe & Save program and started having these and other staples delivered by the case directly to my door. About the same time other things began to change with our way of life. I started a compost pile, set up a worm bin, started buying in bulk, cooking from scratch, looking for products with less and/or non-plastic packaging, consumed less - all leading to less trash. A lot less trash! We went from a bag a day to less than a bag a week! All the while still receiving case shipments of garbage bags. Before I knew it I had four cases of these garbage bags and had not even used the first case!
Our first shipment came in October of 2008, just shy of two years ago. In that two years we have used 9 boxes out of the first case delivered. Nine! Actually 8, because I just opened our current box so it is still nearly full. Eight! Eight boxes, multiplied by 20 bags per box equals 160 bags, divided by 104 weeks (2 years) equals an average use of 1.5 bags per week. From one per day to 1.5 per week. I think that is awesome! But, it leaves me with a huge dilemma. I still have 40 boxes to use. 40 boxes, multiplied by 20 bags per box equals 800 bags, divided by 1.5 bags per week, divided by 52 weeks (1 year) equals enough bags left to last 10.25 years! And that is at our current rate of consumption. Our last child leaves for college in four years. No children, less food, less consumption, equals even less trash. OY!
When I expressed my disdain to the garbage attendant she sympathized, but offered no solution. Her only advice was to use as many bags as I can between now and November 1. 800 bags! No problem. I cannot even donate them since everyone now has to use clear bags. Am I just going to end up contributing massive amounts of plastic to the waste stream? The very thing I was trying to avoid when purchasing these? Let's not even get into the $160 I have paid for them. Ugh. Plus all the money that will have to be spent on new clear bags.
I feel like I'm back in grade school and have to miss recess, because one jerky kid didn't listen and now the whole class is being punished. Thanks. Certainly I am the last person who would throw away something that can be recycled. I keep stuff that should be recycled, but is not because they do not accept it! You should see all the yogurt containers in my basement!
Trying to rack my brain for a way around this clear bag mandate (i.e. throwing a major hissy fit on my husband) I said I would be willing to let them inspect my bag. You know keep it open so they could look inside before throwing it in the dumpster? And in true tantrum style refused to buy new bags. I will just take our whole trash can over and dump it in. Then my husband offered this: Why not still line the trash can with our black bags and do just that? Dump the contents in and then throw the black bag away with it. Genius!
I see people over there all the time throwing loose trash in. It is usually larger items, but as far as I know there is no mandate against it. All the trash is compacted and hauled to Xcel energy to be incinerated. It will burn the same inside or out of the bag. So that is my new plan. To not waste these bags and not buy new plastic and when mine run out in ten years or so never buy garbage bags again.