We Are The Tidal Wave
Since the single use carry out bags ban in California, many people have switched over to bringing their groceries home in reusable bags. Because of this, we have reduced plastic bag litter along the California coastline and streams by 72 percent, which is fantastic! But I believe we can do even better.
You say no to the plastic bags at checkout, but if you look at your shopping cart, are you really plastic bag free? What about the bags we use for fruits and veggies?
Today I bought 99% of my fruits and veggies in reusable bags. I used old t-shirts and bandanas to make bags for my items. Sure, it would be easier to buy reusable produce bags, but the very production of such bags actually takes more resources than producing plastic bags. Surprised? So was I.
Various bags leave different environmental impacts based on the “extraction and production of raw materials through manufacture, packaging, transportation, and finally disposal” (Berkeley Science Review, 2017). According to the UK Environmental Agency’s Life Cycle Assessment, a cotton reusable bag must be used 173 times to be equal to the environmental impact of a conventional plastic bag.
For this reason, I decided to make bags out of fabric I already had at home instead of going out and buying reusable bags. We all have those shirts that we don’t wear, so let’s recycle them into bags! Here’s the video I watched to learn how.
Did You Get Weird Looks At Checkout?
No. If you’re worried about what people will say, don’t be.
I took steel containers to the store to buy trail mix. I first asked the cashier to weigh my empty containers so that we could subtract the weight of the containers from the mix during checkout. She was supportive and did so gladly. I also received positive attention from other shoppers. We were able to have a conversation about sustainable options and I hope, in the end, I was able to leave such an impression as to inspire them to steer away from single use bags. One woman I spoke with was very happy with my actions. She said she was glad I was doing something, because the president surely isn’t. It only takes one person to make a difference, so why shouldn’t that person be you? Turn towards green alternatives and inspire others in your local communities to do the same. The power of a chain reaction is incredible.