So, exciting news — our mayor and city council are extremely environmentally-minded, and they’re getting ready to ban one-use plastic bags within the city limits.
Ironically, that just means the plastic bags they load you up with at the checkout counter. The plastic produce bags aren’t apparently considered “one-use.”
But! That’s better than a stick in the eye, as Eric would say.
Anyway. Last Saturday we were out and about doing our regular grocery shopping trip (I’m usually by myself, but circumstances brought us together), and at the checkout, the lady behind the counter was all, thank you for bringing your own bags! and was very complimentary on my jars of bulk and our cloth bags of produce. Then she was all like, hey, have you heard about the plastic bag ban coming up? and we were all like, yes! Yay!
I kind of thought, just based on her positive reaction to my bags et al, that she would also be a yay voice.
Nope. She started going off: People are going to have to start paying for bags and she thinks that is wrong, don’t nickel and dime the customer! We just sort of looked at her and mixed in a, well, we think it’s great whenever she took a breath.
I kind of wondered about that in the car, but, as Eric pointed out, the checkers are going to be the ones who get the brunt of the fallout from those who suddenly now have to purchase a bag to get their groceries home. So no wonder she’s not looking forward to that.
And in a weird way she was worrying about our best interests.
Well, don’t worry about it on my behalf, nice checker lady, because I’m jacked. We’ve been to other Oregon cities who have independently banned plastic bags and charge, and it works just fine. When we went on a California adventure a few years ago, we got used to checkers asking us if we wanted to buy a bag. That phrase — “Do you want to buy a bag?” — is key.
Because it has to hurt (although I would argue a nickel or dime isn’t terrible) in order for more people to start remembering their reusable bags. There has to be some kind of consequence. (HERE is a story from The Washington Post that discusses how charging equals less bag usage. The internet is a marvelous thing.)
And it’s not like we need those plastic bags so desperately because there aren’t any other options. You got an argument, I got a solution:
- Need to line your garbage? Use a cereal bag or a potato chip bag or a pet food bag. (Or compost and recycle — that should take care of most of it.)
- Don’t want to pay the fee to buy a bag but don’t have one with you? Put everything back into the cart and bring it to the car that way. (I bet you’d only do that once though. What a pain that would be.)
- Keep forgetting your bags in the car? Run out to get them when you remember (maybe park your cart in a safe place first). I also have a couple that I keep in my purse.
Anyway, I am so happy that my town is getting ready to jump on the bandwagon. I hope our county stores follow suit … and then the rest of Oregon.
Banning something petroleum-based that doesn’t break down and can harm wildlife? Bring it.
Out of curiosity, how many of you live in towns or states or provinces that have banned plastic bags? Thoughts and feeling?
P.S. I haven’t done a trash update in a while, but anyway, we’re holding steady at a little less than one bag of garbage every two weeks (I have a feeling we haven’t had change because of the cats — that includes their literal waste). What I’m excited about, though, is our recycling has gone down tremendously, to half a bin every two weeks. That’s amazing to me, and I’m thrilled we’re seeing visible, tangible results.
Next up: I haven’t decided, but there is a very good chance it will involve more cat photos.