No More Plastic Bags… Almost

on March 23rd, 2008 by

In the news recently there has been news of many countries and cities banning and taxing the use of plastic bags. I am very excited to see that some places are taking action. We have to reduce our dependence on oil and this is a small step in that direction (actually it is potentially a big step with a majority of compliance). The US, however, has always had problems issuing blanket regulations due to stifling a freedom, states choosing to not follow, or one of many other reasons. We all choose what regulations we want to follow whether a law states it or not. While no one is telling me to, I am choosing to reduce my plastic bag consumption.

Where I live, over the last couple of months, I have seen a slight change in people’s perspectives with regards to the use of plastic bags. I am not saying that there is a significant movement to the non-use of plastic bags, just the acceptance of not using plastic bags.

I did some research and found some wonderful reusable bags at none other than ReusableBags.com. I have bought many different styles over the last two years and I use different styles for different reasons. I will get into the benefits of certain styles of bags in another post.

One of my first experiences using my bags that I bought from ReusableBags.com was at Wal-Mart. The cashier told me that if I wasn’t going to use plastic bags, that she wasn’t going to bag my groceries. Well, being the non-confrontational person that I am, I told her that I was going to use my bags so I would bag my own groceries. When I came home and told my husband, he said that she was lucky he wasn’t there with me. I think she would have received one heck of a feedback/complaint to her manager on the spot. I did write the details of the encounter on the receipt, but never did call back and complain. Instead over my next couple of trips to Wal-Mart, as I was asking the cashiers to use the non-plastic bags, I would tell them of my unpleasant experience with one of their coworkers. A couple cashiers even told me who they probably thought it was. I never did see the rude cashier again – I would have reported a complaint should it have happened again – maybe she didn’t last long with that awful attitude. She probably gave everyone a hard time about everything.

This experience just fueled my want to change to buying my groceries at someplace other than Wal-Mart. By this time, I had many reasons to not shop at Wal-Mart that I will write a-whole-nother post about. The one reason that I started going to Wal-Mart was a lack of money on our part. I know how evil the Wal-Mart corporation is in their doing of business, so I wouldn’t be going to Wal-Mart because I like the place. I rarely find nice shoppers during my shopping experience. From the people who run into your cart while you are standing still and never apologize to the people sitting outside of the front doors in their running cars looking like they are going to need to do a fast get away but in fact are just too darn lazy to get up off their butt and walk a couple of steps. Luckily, money is better now and I realized that if we modified our food habits that we could afford to shop at a nicer grocery store like Giant, Superfresh, or Food Lion (since those are our only other choices in the way of larger grocery stores).

Now that I have switched my grocery shopping to Giant, I don’t receive any opposition to my cloth and recycled plastic grocery bags. Actually, I don’t even have to ask. All I need to do is put them on the moving belt with the food in the front and they automatically bag the groceries into the cloth bags. In addition to the friendly cashiers, Giant even gives you a credit of $0.03 for each reusable bag you use during your purchase. Some of the lines at Giant were recently converted to Self-Checkout lines – I really enjoy those. There is a person over there that helps you if you need it and not a lot of the people use the lines so there is no waiting time. Plus, I actually love bagging my own groceries. I know how much I can fill each bag up and how heavy they need to be for me to carry. I like putting similar items together and while they do a really good job of that at Giant, I just wasn’t used to good bagging at Wal-Mart – who really wants 2 items per bag, oh maybe it is because the bags will break if they put too many items in or maybe it is just Wal-Mart’s was of being wasteful – that is probably it. I just need to figure out how to put in how many reusable bags I am using and get my credit and I will have mastered the Self-Checkout lines at Giant.

I do have to admit that I haven’t been fully converted to no plastic bags completely – not out of want but necessity (for now). We have 2 cats and I use plastic bags to clean their litter boxes. I haven’t figured out a sanitary way yet of cleaning their cat boxes without the plastic bags. I can say though that over the past 3 months that I haven’t been getting plastic bags at the grocery store at all, I am still going through the plastic bags that I had stock piled. They will eventually run out though, so before they run out, I need to find a solution.

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