Monday, April 21, 2008

Enviro-Girl is NOT a Bag Lady

The Annual Estate clean-up began last week, in conjunction with dryer, warmer weather and the spring cleaning scheduled at Wayne Manor. (Batman and Enviro-Girl keep a similar calendar.) Enviro-Girl grabbed a garbage bag and pulled her Wellingtons over her feet (jeans tucked in) before heading out to the West Field. The West Field is near the elementary school and traditionally Enviro-Girl finds old assignments, permission slips, juice box containers and fruit snack wrappers blown into the tall grass and prairie. Picking up school trash doesn't bother Enviro-Girl--really, for a school of 820 children, there isn't too much litter. And the debris of childhood makes her nostalgic for her own school days of packed lunches and Christopher Columbus Day crossword puzzles. She discovers the occasional football and kickball (returned the next day in her child's backpack) and random windblown trash from tipped-over garbage cans.

This year, however, Enviro-Girl blew a gasket while out in the field. She gathered TWO TIMES the usual amount of trash in the West Field and most of that new trash was plastic shopping bags. Enviro-Girl thinks plastic shopping bags should be outlawed, the sight of them makes her physically sick. She wonders:

* Why make a disposable item out of a nonrenewable resource like petroleum?

* Why make a disposable item that is NOT biodegradable?

* Why doesn't the fact that there is a Great Pacific Garbage Patch covering the area twice the size of Texas freak people out to the point of making plastic bags illegal?

* What are people thinking when they go into a store and buy a loaf of bread and have it bagged? That's now TWO plastic bags used as packaging...

* What is the bagger thinking when they automatically put a single item into a shopping bag? The bags cost the stores money, wouldn't it be more cost-effective to ask if a person wants a bag--and then maybe fewer people would take them?

Yes, Enviro-Girl has issues with plastic shopping bags (and whiny children, advertising on TV and AM talk radio). Plastic shopping bags are wastefully redundant since most purchases are packaged anyway and it seems a no-brainer to stop using them. Plenty of places have banned plastic shopping bags, including China (a country notorious for its polluting practices), South Africa, Ireland and Taiwan
. It's a small thing to tax shoppers for them or impose fees on companies using them--it's a much bigger thing for Enviro-Girl to retrieve them off of 60 acres and then send them to a landfill. Enviro-Girl is begging you, people, stop using the damn plastic shopping bags. Advocate for their ban, reuse your shopping bags or get yourself some cloth or canvas bags for shopping. In honor of Earth Day this week, make this one small change to help Save the Planet from Pollution.

Batman says: Help us in the fight for Justice and a cleaner planet!
Take a pass on the shopping bag.


  1. Because of Envrio-Girl, I have purchased reuseable shopping bags, energy saving light bulbs, and a whole new sense of what I can do for my planet.

  2. I use my canvas bags almost all the time. When I'm just running into the drug store and don't have them with me, I can usually get a way with putting my purchases in my purse.

    To help me remember to take my bags to the store with me, I keep my Trader Joe's cooler bag between the 2 front seats. If it's not out of sight it's not out of mind!

  3. Amen!

    And remember: some stores do offer plastic bag recycling bins. You know, for the plastic bags you already have and can't throw away.

  4. You'll be proud of me! We just switched to canvas bags for every purchase! We keep about ten in the car at all times.

  5. Okay, take a deep breath. Breath out. Breathe in. Relax. Plastic bags are not worth having a stroke over. :-)

    We're so used to using cloth bags that, when we forgot to bring one with us to England, we bought one so as not to use any plastic.

  6. I can honestly say that we work very hard to never use plastic bags in stores.
    I worry about our kitchen trash bags though...are the biodegradable ones any good/cheap enough?

  7. I LOVE my canvas bags. I can bring home a weeks worth of shopping in two bags because they hold so much.

    Also, check out the little zippered re-usables from Target. They zip closed to the size of a pencil case and fit nicely in your purse. Un-zipped they hold what a standard plastic bag would hold. Very handy.

  8. Look at all you guys! Giving up the bags! Carrying your own! I'm (sniff) so proud. Mr. D actually turned down a bag today too at the supermarket--he said he thought of me (read: my tantrum Friday) and walked out without the bag.

    Blackbird, if you don't use a lot of trash bags, buy the biodegradable ones. We use 2 kitchen-sized ones a week, so the cost is minimal. They do cost more, but I believe it's a supply/demand thing that will change as people buy them more.

  9. They need to be outlawed. I'm thinking all plastic (except anything used for medical purposes) should be banned. But, my not using a plastic bag when most other people still are will not make one bit of difference. We need to flood our lawmakers with petitions, letters, etc.

  10. I love Harry's Farmer's Market (it's a Whole Foods, but they kept the original name), I bought a big heavy cardboard BOX for $2 and keep it in my trunk. I carry a Lands' End medium tote bag as a purse, and most purchases will fit in there. I just make sure I'm holding the receipt in my hand when I walk out the door so I don't get hassled for shoplifting.

  11. I have cloth bags-I give them as gifts to people who don't have any. A friend of mine spent this past Saturday making 12 of them, and they are cute.

  12. I bought canvas bags a few months ago, and wrote a post about the same issue. Maybe one day it will be so socially unacceptable to use plastic that it will be embarrassing for stores to carry them and for shoppers to use them.

    It's not so hard to remember them (though I confess to forgetting on occasion), and they hold so much more than plastic bags anyway.


Spill it, reader.