It’s a pet peeve of mine how bag-happy the local grocery stores can be. Does the 12-pack of soda–with the handle–really need to be double-plastic-bagged?? I think not. Sheesh. My theory is they use as many bags as possible so you feel like your $80 worth of groceries got you something, but canvas, mesh and reusable plastic bags tell the truth, well, at least, they hold more and don’t require double-bagging.
A few years ago, I was too shy to bust out my own bag at the store. I didn’t want to be that granola chick holding up the line at Long’s offering a funky net bag or tote bag to the cashier. But when I got three of these bags for Christmas, I figured I’d at least use em at Kokua Market where the organic-loving clientele wouldn’t blink. Now I’m so used to carrying them around, I have no shame to bust em out at Safeway or the corner liquor store. Sometimes the clerk even thanks me.
Apparently normal plastic bags take like 1,000 years to degrade (or a few decades, depending on the source) and require obscene quantities of crude oil to make. When you combine that with the huge number we go through and the damage they can do in marine environments, it def becomes a problem–but a solvable one. You can easily find out more, it’s a trendy topic right now. Regarding that last link, I personally don’t see the need to make a fashion statement out of a shopping bag, I think it kind of misses the point that if you only have a few things to carry, any old bag will usually do, messenger, backpack, tote bag, whatever, but yea, whatever.
At the same time, banning plastic bags outright doesn’t seem totally necessary. They’ve recently done this in San Francisco and are discussing it in Hawaii and in a number of cities elsewhere. I think charging for (biodegradable) plastic bags would be fair and offering recycling for plastic bags seems like a great idea.
Of course if a store choses to ban them, more power to to them. But paper isn’t really environmentally that much better and there are a lot of ways to reuse plastic bags, from garbage to lunches, and my lil sis tells me that they’re essential for picking up dog poo. Or even these crazy lil craft projects that I’ll never do.