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Plastic Bags: Stop Being Part of the Problem (+ video)

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Plastic Bags: Stop Being Part of the Problem (+ video)

By now you’ve hopefully read my previous piece on the problems with plastic bags and are ready to kick the habit. Thankfully your first step is going to be an easy one: Just say no. Now I know that seems a little bit simplistic, but you’ve got to start somewhere and the best place is to announce to yourself and to the world that you are never going to take another plastic bag again. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Stand up from your computer (or lie down if that makes you feel better) and say “I’m never going to take another plastic bag again.” Even better, pull a Network–open up your window and shout it out to the world (wouldn’t that be cool if that happened?).

Now that you’ve done that, the next step is to keep on reminding yourself that No Means No. What I mean to say is that as you start to retrain yourself, and that is what you will be doing, for the first week or so you will invariably walk out of the house without a re-usable bag. If you remind yourself that No Means No, then when you get to that checkout stand and realize you don’t have any bags, you’re either going to be putting things back, making a few trips to your bike or car, or, if you’re like me, looking pretty silly juggling all those boxes and bottles out of the store.

I’m not suggesting that this is going to become your normal routine from now on (“Mommy look, it’s the funny man who’s always dropping the eggs”), I’m just saying that if you agree that plastic bags are no longer an option, you’ll learn pretty quickly that a little pre-planning will go a long way. Before long, you won’t even realize you’re doing it.

Two weeks from now we’ll give this a trial run, but right now, your next step is to do some prep. For starters, you are going to need some reusable bags and your first stop will be around the house. If you are like me, over the years you have accumulated bags from vendors, fund-raisers, and all sorts of other places, and these work perfectly. Another option is to take an old T-shirt and sew it up into a bag like my friend Anna does. After all, why buy something new when you can reuse/repurpose something you already have?

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Do Good, Green, News & Issues, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Sustainable Dave, , , , , ,

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Dave Chameides

Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. "Give people the facts, and they'll choose to do the right thing."

529 comments

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12:00AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Ahaa, it’s nice conversation on the subject of this post at this place, I actually have read all that, therefore at this time me additionally commenting at this place.

music video production

10:19AM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

Why is it that plastic bags are still a problem when we know whta affect it has in environment and peoples health?

http://environmentinfocus.com/archives/723

5:27AM PST on Feb 12, 2011

Cloth bags are the only way to go!

11:13AM PST on Feb 10, 2011

i try not to individually bag my produce, really what is the point. i do use cloth bags for my main stuff but i do still accumulate the plastic grocery bags which i reuse for cleaning the kitty box.

3:07PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

Due to my forgetfulness of grabbing the fabric bags when going out the door, I now keep the lot of them on the floor in front of the passenger seat of my car. I do my shopping for food on the way home after work so this helps me to just grab them as I get out of the car which by the way gets 37 mpg.

plastic spring

6:22PM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

Well, I've been refusing plastic bags at the stores for awhile now, and I can tell you the only store in my town that gives any sort of discount is Target (wow, 5 cents!). CVS doesn't give an award for using my bags.

As far as garbage, I'd like to know what the write is not throwing in the trash besides food scraps. We rarely have any food-type of stuff that goes in our trash, but there's plenty of other yucky stuff that can make for a mess. Also, most communities require the use of trash bags. (I admit I cheat on that one, but when I see trash ending up on the street and in the ditches, then I am reminded why they require baggin of trash.)

I am disappointed, because I was led to this article via another with the belief I'd be told a good alternative to sandwhich and gallon-size plastic bags. I didn't see one here. There is a limit to glass storage, especially in context to packing kids lunches.

9:19AM PDT on May 7, 2010

HEMP as plastic GOOGLE HEMP, GO TO WIKIPIDIA
The basic building block of plastics is cellulose taken from petroleum, but toxic petrochemical compositions are not the only way to derive plastics. Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose, and since hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth (hemp hurds can be 85% cellA recent technological advance with biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch has led to a new material based on hemp. Hemp Plastics (Australia) have sourced partners who have been able to produce a new 100% biodegradable material made entirely from hemp and corn. This new material has unique strength and technical qualities which have yet to be seen before, and this new material can be injection or blow-molded into virtually any shape using existing moulds, including cosmetic containers, Frisbee golf discs, etc.ulose), it only makes sense to make other organics, instead of letting our dumps fill up with refuse.
The possibilities are endless with hemp plastics and resins, and bio-composites. Virtually any shape and purpose can be fulfilled by bio-composite plastics. Hemp plastics are already on the rise, it is only a matter of time before we will see the need to grow hemp in the United States to meet our demands.

6:10AM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

First of all, you can't ban anything worldwide...but you can ban things in this country. Secondly...people shouldn't be using paper bags either...thirdly, people need to start PAYING for bags...then people will start bringing their own. They are free at the store, so people just grab a bag abd fill it, grab another bag and fill it...when bags are not free, then people will come to the store with bags...so why are the bags free?

9:10AM PDT on Mar 17, 2010

I have very beat up canvas bags and here in Hong Kong we get charged if we don't bring our own bag. It was easy to change since I already had the bags. For the fruits/veggies I use smaller cloth bags that were meant for making soups. A pack of 4 cost about US$1. I've also made some from reusing the mesh type and adding a small paperboard tag with a clip to apply the price tags. The grocery is used to it and I feel much better to not have the plastic.

Even the dry cleaners has switched to a fabric clothing cover and we turn them back in at the next visit. It can be done.

7:37AM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

When I shop, especially in the grocery store, I always take along 10 - 12 cloth bags of which I purchased. Sometimes, when I forget to bring them with me, I am not going to make a fuss over whether I'm going to use a plastic bag or not. Sometimes, I enjoy recycling the plastic bag at home, for storage and the like. So I am not one who is going to cut the handy standard plastic bag out of my life. I feel that I am make great strides, its not like I have tone of bags (plastic) simply a few when I need it. Some people simply go overboard.

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