Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh Poop! Plastic Bags Everywhere

We have a new baby!  She's an eight-week old golden retriever, Bella Blue. 
Our Bella Blue

She’s named after the beautiful blue planet that I love so dearly. Since I’m a mother and my job is to care for what I love, I try my best to keep “disposable plastic” bags from choking and killing the beautiful blue ocean/sky/planet (the dog too!)
oxymoronäksəˈmôän|      
  a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. disposable plastic bags)
 “Disposable plastic” epitomizes the term oxymoron. (I’m not even going to make a “moron” joke here. Too easy.)  Disposable plastic bags can’t actually be disposed of.  They can't be recycled except in a few, rare plants because they jam up most equipment. Since they’re made of plastic they will never entirely decompose, only break down into smaller, more lethal particles. Remember that aside from the minute percentage that has been incinerated (creating even more toxic fumes), EVERY ounce of plastic ever created still exists today.
So, over the past few years I’ve accumulated quite a collection of reusable shopping bags.  They’ve come a long way since the hideous canvas totes that my teacher friends and I used to haul homework around during the 90s.  I think I have one of every design ever issued by Whole Foods. To be honest, I’ve been a little smug about the idea that I haven’t taken a plastic bag from a store in months.  
When I forget my reusable bags, I just put all the groceries back into the cart and transfer them into the bags that are always waiting in the trunk or at home. I tell myself that the hassle will help me remember the next time, although it’s amazing how often I forget.  But I don’t take the plastic bags that the clerks so desperately want to give me. Ever.
Until… Recently, I forgot to take the beloved bags into Target, and I (gasp!) took a few plastic bags from the clerk, saying sheepishly, “Well, I have a new puppy at home, so I do need some poop bags.” I thought of conversations I’ve had with friends about how they only take plastic grocery bags because they have a dog. 
I haven’t regretted NOT saying “no” this much since college. ;-) My smug-streak came to a screeching halt.
So, I decided right then, never to do it again.  But, I want to be a good dog owner and can’t leave Bella’s little piles of pleasure all over the park.  I’m not sure I can commit to carrying a pooper-scooper with me everywhere we go. What’s a girl to do?
I’ll tell you what: I opened my eyes and realized how much I’d been kidding myself about my plastic bag consumption.  I may not take plastic bags from the grocery clerk, but I most certainly take them from the grocery shelves.  You know what comes in plastic bags? Everything.  Bread, buns, produce, deli meat, tortillas, cereal, marshmallows, frozen veggies, frozen fruit, Halloween candy… 
And the grocery store is only the beginning. Since I started collecting poop bags, I’ve notice that the strangest things come in plastic bags: instructions to our new microwave, flyers on the door handle, projects coming home from school, and of course, the neighbor’s newspaper.
My puppy is young. Just like a human baby, she poops about every three hours.  That’s a lot of bags, but I haven’t run out yet.  The good news is that I am now, once again, convinced that there is no excuse to take a “disposable” plastic shopping bag from the store. The bad news is that even when you cut shopping bags out of your life, there is still so much plastic sneaking in. 
So, as a people that care about the environment, our children, the future, and the example we set, what can we do? Following are a few ideas from easy to awesome:
  • ·      Give your plastic bags to a neighbor with a dog so they won’t resort to “disposable” shopping bags.
  • If you have a dog, try biodegradable poop bags from Petco. (Just stole idea this off the comment below). Please post your ideas too!
  • ·      Pay attention to the (over) packaging of what you buy and use your dollars accordingly, especially if you don’t need any extra plastic bags.
  • ·      Invest is a few reusable bags ($0.99 at Whole Foods) and swear off plastic grocery bags forever. It’s far more fun to be smug than sheepish. 
  • ·      Write to your local elected officials and ask them to support a ban of or fee on “disposable” plastic shopping bags.
  • ·      Above all, mother your Bella Blue.
your bella blue

2 comments:

  1. We try to buy biodegradable bags for our Chamberlain... have had good luck buying them at Petco.

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  2. Poop Bags
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