Friday, April 17, 2009

Earth Day 2009

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where your house is my house, and it's their house too! I'm talking about the Earth. We don't so much live on it as within it.

When Queen Brighid the Bright spread her silver mantle across the face of the Earth to make it wonderful for humans and deities alike, she probably didn't anticipate how humans would use and abuse the gift. We've run amok and spread ruin in our wake. I put this down primarily to overpopulation, which is something that could be rectified if we thought as a species and not as individuals.

But you're not going to convince Octo-mom not to pop kids out like a cat breeds kittens, so we'll scale back our resolutions to something manageable.

Today's conundrum: those plastic grocery bags that flow out of the stores like a crinkly white tsunami. Damned pesky things! They hold three items, and then go to the landfill where they stay intact through eternity. Nothing known to man nor beast can break their wretched chemical spell.

You can say, "Oh, Anne. This one is so simple! Just buy those re-usable bags."

I have. There are dozens here in the house. But I'm a dizzy, all-over-the-place kinda gal. Invariably I arrive at the store without them. And leave with 10 of those white plastic monsters, each holding three items.

I'm a practical person. The first thing I did was to stitch together the little plastic bags as slipcovers to protect my upholstery from nasty spills and stains. This works fine, so long as everyone sits very still while watching t.v. Otherwise you can't hear Keith. And he's loud.

But that still left mountains of the little buggers.

I have found two solutions.

1. Use one of the re-usable bags to store the icky plastic bags. Once the re-usable bag is brimming over, take it to the supermarket and dump the plastic bags in the recycle bin they keep at the store.

You see, enterprising companies have started using recycled plastic grocery bags to make lawn furniture that can sit out in the rain and never get old. Other companies are making plastic boardwalk. I've seen this being installed in Cape May, and it is awesome! It never wears out, it looks like wood, and it's actually kinder to the feet.

Granted, there are only so many miles of boardwalk to be replaced out there. And only so many people who need outdoor furniture. But by the time those needs are filled, maybe the fine young minds out there will think of another use for something that never, ever, ever, ever gets old.

(Damn. Maybe we should eat those buggers!)

2. Sometimes I do this:

After paying for the groceries, throw them back in the cart. Throw them loosely into the trunk of the car. When you get home, retrieve your re-usable grocery bags from the dark corners, take them outside, and bag the groceries in the trunk.

I borrowed this idea from a wholesale club.

My biggest peeve is how much packaging surrounds grocery items. Most of it's plastic too. We even have to shove fresh vegetables into plastic bags. But solving that problem will have to wait for another day.

One can only fight a war on so many fronts, and my personal war is against little white grocery bags. They are GOIN DOWN. Word.


Pom said...

New cell phones are also being created from those pesky plastic bags.

We have about 6 lg canvas bags. We keep them stored one within the other and when the time comes to go to the store we place the glass milk bottles inside of them so the bottles are protected. "What does that matter?" you ask. Well in order to get back the deposit for the glass milk bottles we have to return them and my husband will NOT forget the bags knowing that one thing. Of course that doesn't mean that the bags don't occasionally get left in the car when we're at the store, but that is easily resolved with a quick run out to the parking lot by one of us.

I'm hoping that they'll start offering at least paper bags in the produce department as that issue annoys me as well. I'd love to find a bulk grocer which, in my mind, would offer enormous tubs of grains, milk, produce, meat, etc. and we'd provide our own containers. Not very practical but I've never been accused of being practical.

THE Michael said...

We here at Pendragon Hold are equally guilty of the "Have bags and always forget them" gambit. Perhaps if the grocery stores were prohibited by law to even provide any kind of bag, we'd HAVE to get used to the idea of bringing our own.

But that would piss of Mr. Bubba B. Entitled, now wouldn't it, and we can't do that, can we?

This comment was brought to you by the verification word HESTORT..........

yellowdog granny said...

i do that too..have the little green bags and they are piled in front of the door and i walk right by them and end up bringing everything home in plastic.
when i worked at family dollar i would get so pissed at how they packaged everything..we'd get a rack of say..tshirts..each one would be wrapped in a plastic bag and then the entire dozen would be wrapped in a bag..we would get 2 deodorants lose..but they wouldnt be lose, they would each be wrapped in plastic..then wrapped in another piece of plastic..i would bitch all the time..same with houseslippers, shoes, socks, every singel damn thing would be encased in plastic...i made tom crazy bitching about it..ha

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Our govt has decided that the way to cut down on plastic bags hanging from trees and hedgerows is to make the shopper pay for them.
It works to a degree, in that the penny-wise shoppers tend to remember to bring reusable or old bags, but most affluent Safricans couldn't give a piss and buy the plastic bags every time.
I tend not to ask to buy a bag when I've got ten or fewer items - I carry them in my own two hands or the handbag. But for more items I have to buy the bloody things (also, like most of us here reading the Gods are Bored, having a half dozen cloth bags whiah I invariably forget at home), and so I stuff them, like you Anne, in another bag and reuse them, mostly for doggy poo and garden cuttings, or other detritius I don't recycle.

We seem to be threatening our local urban bird, the plastic bag nester.

Terri in Joburg

PS REHURSTE???? sounds like it could be a good word.For recyclable coffins maybe.

Livia Indica said...

I get paper sacks whenever possible, they're great for bagging up dirty kitty litter! But I too have a zillion plastic bags stuffed in closets, cabinets, shelves, etc. One thing they are good for is wrapping breakables. Three or four of them wrapped around a fine piece of glass or ceramic works wonders. They also make great trash bags for small trash cans. We also use them as lunch bags for meals that will go back into the refrigerator. And some of the smaller, mom and pop, secondhand or consignment stores will accept plastic bags to keep costs down. I imagine homeless shelters or food banks might accept them too.

Anonymous said...

I generally don't put my fruit and veggies in the smaller plastic bags that the stores expect you to use. I just put them into the grocery cart as is... so less plastic.

Hope this tip helps.

Lavanah said...

I start off by asking for those "paid" stickers to be put on anything larger than an apple. Since I keep a cooler in my car, I just load the loose groceries there. Then, after my third or fourth trip into the house with the food, I remember to put the canvas shopping bags back in the car for next time!