Monday, October 22, 2012

Paper or Plastic?

     Beginning October 1st. San Luis Obispo County instituted a ban on all plastic bags from retail establishments. One can get paper bags to carry your items, but they cost ten cents a piece. I don't do a ton of small scale shopping much anymore, not like when my children were little and I went to the store every week for groceries. I mostly buy from Costco, who only occasionally had bags of any kind; mostly boxes to lug your purchases home. I know, it is just my husband and I and the cat now. One would think it would have been better to frequent Costco when we had kids, which we did but Costco wasn't around when they were little. So, back to bags... I knew this ban was coming. Many counties in other parts of the state had already begun the process. I went to a quilt store in San Jose this past summer and didn't get a bag. and was informed that if I wanted one it would be .25, which seemed kind of high to me. Anyway, like I said, I knew this was coming and I really did not plan for it at all.
     Last week was the first time I went to Walmart in over a month. I had a long shopping list. I have to have a list compiled when I go because otherwise I just don't go and fight the crowd. As I walked into Walmart I noticed that people were coming out with shopping carts full of items not in bags. I looked around and noticed most of the other people walking into Walmart had some kind of reusable shopping bag with them. Great. Now what? Oh, well, I thought, if I have to buy a bag I will. It is amazing how quickly my shopping list got cut down! I left the store with half the items on my list deeming them not necessary after all. And what I did buy I managed to fit into my purse and a container I bought. I felt pretty clever and vowed to put bags in my car when I got home. It's not that I don't have bags; they just weren't necessary until now.
     That was Tuesday afternoon. You think that would have been a lesson learned. No. Wednesday I went to the grocery store. Same scenario, deja vu all over again. But I couldn't cut down this list; I needed certain things. I ended up going through the self checkout and when the machine voice asked me how many paper bags I needed, I honestly punched the number 1. I only used one bag but I am wondering what would have happened had I punched zero and then taken one? Would the Von's bag police come swooping down on me? Was anyone really watching? I doubt it. So it leads me to ask the question: How serious was this ban?
     Thursday I stopped at CVS on my way home. Dang! No bags in the car, again! This is really starting to irritate me. The funny thing is that 2 years ago, as a New Year's Resolution, I began leaving all kinds of stores with my purchases in my hand or purse, telling them I was cutting down on bag use. Ironic? Probably. It just goes to show how hard it is to change a habit, and how much we take advantage of everyday things. Now we are hording plastic bags! We use them for trash under our sink, so it is not like we are just thowing them away when we empty them. But our supply is going to dwindle quickly. The other day I saw my husband taking the kitchen trash to a larger can in the utility room, emptying it out, and using the bag under the sink for a third time. We are faced with having to re-think our entire trash disposal system. I wonder if the voters who passed this ban realized the impact it would have on their every day life?

1 comment:

  1. we haven't had plastic bags for a couple of years now, so that part hasn't been a problem for us but we use our Trader Joes paper bags for trash.

    We had to go this weekend and buy a trash can and a box of trash bags. we did the math and the box we got the bags cost 8 cents each, not much cheaper if it's only one bag but we always used double paper so I guess we're saving ourselves 12 cents. C'est La vie I suppose