(Photo sourced from World Wildlife Federation site)
Reading “The Bag Ban Baggage” today prompted me to do a little reflecting on plastic bags.
I recall when brown paper bags were used all the time to bring home groceries. Often, the condensation from a milk container would dampen the bottom of a bag with predictable results—groceries suddenly cascading all over the floor. We progressed to the plastic bag, and everyone was happy—for a while. Then murmurings went up that these bags might off gas and take years to decompose in a landfill. (Today, plastic bags even litter the ocean, eventually often being ingested by fish and other sea creatures).
In her blog, “The Bag Ban Baggage”, Carly, of Essentia Toronto, explains many of the problems a person can encounter when their city decides to ban the use of plastic bags. Carly’s blog spurred me to recall a few of my own frustrations in this regard.
My first experience with the no-bag store came some years back in Edinburgh. A sweet Scotswoman checked out my groceries —so far so good—and then waited for me to take them away. “We don’t have bags, dearie,” she informed me. Shocked, I waited as though at least one grocery bag might appear. Another plea accompanied by a somewhat helpless look resulted in the same response—no bags! I had been supposed to bring my own grocery bag or cart. Resigned, I gathered up my groceries as best I could and headed for the bus. Managing to climb aboard, I watched in dismay as runaway groceries rolled away under one bus seat or another.
Additional bag-related episodes followed after my return to British Columbia. Rather than pay a nickel a piece for flimsy plastic bags, I found myself paying 90 cents each for large, indestructible shopping bags. I collected quite a few. Somehow I always found myself back in the food store with my growing collection of shopping bags still in the car. What was going to happen to my corner of the landfill? Yikes!
As for the diminishing supply of plastic bags for the daily dog walks, yes, that had become a problem. A responsible dog owner, I had always saved plastic bags to clean up after Frankie and Oreo. Maybe it was never such a good idea, though. I mean, wouldn’t the droppings go back to Mother Nature faster without their plastic wrappings? A green conscience can be faced with conflicting choices.
Let’s hope our scientists can keep working on practical, green solutions so that we can transport our groceries and other purchases both conveniently and ecologically.
(As for the Grey Cup tomorrow in Toronto, I wish I could say it was all in the bag for the Calgary Stampeders, but I suspect the Toronto Argonauts will have their own bag of tricks. May the best team win!).