One of the sections of The World Without Us that caught my attention is the description of the gigantic collection of plastic trash in the middle of the Pacific ocean. It was running around in the back of my head last week when I read the NY Times article about how Ireland has essentially stopped using disposable shopping bags, driven in large part by a 33 cent per bag tax. Meanwhile, D has been learning about recycling at school, and I’ve been trying to use that as a starting point for a broader lesson about the environment (and turning off lights when you leave the room, please).
So we’ve decided to see if we can break the plastic bag habit. We’ll keep track of how many we take in each month, and see how low we can get the number.
I understand that giving up plastic grocery bags isn’t going to save the world. And there are plenty of things that involve plastics that I have no intention of giving up. But it strikes me that using disposable plastic bags in no way improves my quality of life. It’s just a habit. And one that we can choose to break.
We’ve got some canvas bags already, and I went ahead and ordered some folding ones that I can keep in my purse so I always have one with me. We’ll see how it goes.
So far, so good. We’ve had some slip-ups, but have been using them more often than not (and often forgoing the plastic bag even when we didn’t bring the grocery bags).
Jo(e) has a great post up about reusable bags. She argues that the problem is that they’re so convenient that they get used for everything BUT groceries. But if you buy enough of them, they become ubiquitous, and you stop having to worry about what you did with them.