Monday, September 9, 2013

Life After a Plastic Bag Ban

From the bean of Green Bean.

A few months ago, our city - along with most of the county - enacted a reusable bag law.  Plastic bags are banned and paper or recylable bags are available for a small fee.  Restaurants and second hand stores are exempt from the rule.

What does this mean?

The clerk at XYZ store no longer sighs when I whip out a Chico Bag and mumble, "I have my own bag."

Hubs and the kids no longer bring home plastic bags and the bin where we store our bags for reuse is shrinking.

Driving down the street, I no longer see the Katy Perry-esque plastic bag drifting in the wind.  Our waterways and drains now host far fewer plastic bags - saving taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

Say goodbye to the oops-I-forgot-my-bags option.  I - along with millions of other shoppers - go back to the car, load up the purse/backpack or carry purchases out by hand.  Sure, I could pay for a paper bag but just knowing that I have to makes me (and everyone around me) think twice.

Folks have gotten creative with reuse.  Cardboard boxes are reused for hauling donations to the library, Goodwill or school.  Canvas bags make the rounds from friend to friend, brimming with hand-me-downs or produce.

The few paper shopping bags that find their way into my home are cherished and saved for a rainy day, rather than tossed in the recycle bin.

What about the dog poop?  Cat litter?  Lining the bathroom trash can?  (These are actual reasons why a state-wide bag ban failed in California.)  Bag laws don't outlaw plastic bags all together.  We save bread bags, the bags our tortillas come in, cereal box liners, and basically all other forms of plastic packaging.  There are more than you realize!  Here are more ideas for addressing these quandaries. 

I love living where there is a reusable bag ordinance in effect. The streets and parking lots are cleaner and everyone I know seems to have adjusted without issue.

Next stop, single use plastic beverage bottles?  Those lids are everywhere!


Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Here here! I love it too. I can't bring myself to pay for a paper bag ever. Partly b/c I'm so cheap, but also b/c it forces me to recognize that nothing is "free" and that resources were used to make that bag. I don't miss the plastic bags at all. As you say, there are still plenty to be had when you need them. I miss the paper bags a little, for when I want to give something away, but often have a box or something else I can use instead.

Green Bean said...

@Betsy - I'm so with you. I do miss the paper bags and cherish every one I get now.


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