Plastic Mindset

I’ve been working hard to drastically reduce the number of plastic bags that I use. It is truly astonishing how many we could go through if we simply didn’t care.

Every store you go in, there are plastic bags. Grocery stores are horrible for plastic bag use. The cashiers seem to just put in a few items before reaching for a new bag. Sox and I bought some of the cloth re-usable bags, and I really like them. What fits in 3 cloth bags, used to end up in ten or more plastic.

When I first started reducing bag consumption, I started by requesting no bags for items I can easily carry by hand, or in my backpack. Each week at work I tend to head to the grocery store to get lunch supplies for the week. If I can walk through the store, and not need a basket, then I won’t get any plastic. Reasonable rule, but some of the cashiers are incredulous when I decline a bag, and have 6 items or more. I am only going upstairs so it isn’t a big deal.

This weekend, I needed to head to the store to get some lunch for Sox and I. When I drive to the grocery store, I quite often forget the bags in the car, but this time I was walking, and remembered to grab one before I left. I felt quite good about this since it signalled to me that the cloth bags are more of a first thought, and not an afterthought. The return trip home was nicer due to the cloth bag not cutting into my hand like the bunched up plastic bags do.

Now, any time I come home with more plastic bag, I feel bad . This is quite a mindset change, that I hope more people can make.

One thing that I like is that many shops give a discount when you bring in your own bag. Strangely, if you say no bag, you often don’t get any discount. The result is the same (no plastic bags leaving the store), but the environmental impact is technically a little better (some resources were used when making the cloth bags). I would love to see more stores offer incentives to people not using bags or bringing in their own. I just remembered that MEC donates money to a charity if you decline a bag.