Bag Lady

bag lady 4Wish I was a bag lady. I ‘ve tried and tried to become one but just can’t seem to get the hang of it.

bag ladyFor the last five years I’ve been actively trying and failing  to bring my recyclable shopping bags into the grocery store with me.  I carry  them in the car and they’re not hard to find, but they almost never make it out of the back seat.  It seems that after so many years of not worrying about being green, it’s a hard  to change my spots.

Bless those stores who place REMEMBER YOUR REUSEABLE BAG reminders in their parking lot, because that actually jogs my brain and occasionally works.  But my usual routine goes something like this.

1. Get into the checkout line.

2. See someone else with cloth bags.

3. Mentally kick myself.

My brain starts to churn – shall  I leave this cart and lose my place in line while I run out to  get my bags from the car?  If I park my cart in a random corner  will a store employee think it’s abandoned and put everything away?  If I get up to the  check stand without recyclable bags will the checker shake her head and sigh because I appear to be eco lazy?

plastic bag lady

Woman with more plastic bags than me.

And this is just at my local grocery store,  I can’t even tell you how  about the stress if I appear sans cloth bags at Whole Foods or some  granola type establishment. You just know those people are going to frown. “You’re buying organic food and taking it home in a landfill clogging plastic bag?”  Sadly yes, and according to the, What is Your Ecological Footprint? internet quiz, I deserve to be frowned at.

The quiz consists of five (somewhat vague) questions ( example):

I produce: A) A large amount of domestic waste.  B) A small amount.

Most of my domestic waste is A) Recycled.  B) Not recycled.

Most of? That’s a trick question. I actually  recycle quite a bit  of my domestic waste, but there wasn’t a box to check for that. Anyway, according to the results, if everyone lived like me we’d need 2.8 planets to sustain life. Uh oh.

(I drive a hybrid car! Does that help?)

In my own defense, I think I’m pretty good at recycling. I’m careful not to mix glass and plastic. I don’t throw away pop cans, I compost grass clippings, and refuse to buy things that come in huge wasteful non recyclable containers. But those plastic bags . . . dang, they cost me a lot of points.

Now in reality, I don’t care that the bags hurt my score on the quiz, but I do care that they hurt the environment. I recently learned that a single plastic shopping bag can take a thousand years to degrade in a landfill, and that plastic bags are the second most common type of ocean refuse. Seriously?  I don’t think I want to be a part of this problem anymore..

What if, instead of simply wishing I was a bag lady,  I became one? What if I said, from now on I WILL use my cloth grocery bags? What if I said it in front of all of you so then I’d have to follow through?

Consider it done.

Here’s my plan.

I’m going to run off a copy of the bag lady picture I used in this post, and tape it next to the door lock on my car. That way I can’t miss  it.  Then if I still manage to get inside without bags, I will ask a store employee to watch my cart while I go back out and get

Whew!  This is hard, but I want to do it, because we don’t have 2.8 planets with which to sustain life. But the good news is, if everyone does their part all we’ll need is one. Wish me luck!


23 thoughts on “Bag Lady

  1. Oh no! I too am a failure at using my reusable bags 😦 I try and try to remember, but I just barely ever do. I do care, I just forget. I recycle too! (If that makes a difference). I like your idea about taping your picture on the door. Perhaps, that will help. I think we could all use to be a little more aware!

  2. We’re kind of a “mixed bag” too. We use cloth bags and are so accustomed to them, we rarely forget them. But. Our car isn’t economical — we can’t afford a hybrid. But. We don’t drive much. But. We don’t recycle everything. But. We use plastic bags many times before dumping them. We refill water bottles until they start to leak. We don’t buy things in aluminum cans. We don’t recycle paper … but don’t use much paper. As I said. Mixed bag.

  3. You’re thinking about it, that’s what matters.I think mixed bags are better than no bags. No aluminum cans huh? I’ll have to think about that. It also helps that they’ll let you bring the plastic baqs back to the store to be recycled, but I sometimes wonder what really happens to them. All those bags floating around the ocean . . .

  4. This made me smile because I have a ton of recyclable grocery bags in my back seat too and keep forgetting to bring any into the store with me.
    Most grocery stores here charge you a nickle a plastic bag if you need any. I throw my groceries in the cart and bag them in my trunk. What’s with Walmart not charging, not making it a little hard to use plastic? When I bring my recyclable bags into the store (when I remember), the cashier always gets confused.

    • Now that’s a good idea. I never thought of just bringing the whole cart out to the car and bagging them there.. Thanks, I’ll add that to my list of options. Also, I wish stores would charge for plastic. I’m incredibly cheap, and that would be a great inspiration.

      • I’m ‘conservative’ with my money as well 🙂 and hate to pay even a nickle for a bag. :-D.
        Walmart is the only store around here that hands out bags by the yard. Their bagging practices provoke waste.

  5. You’ve made an excellent point and all the “commenters” (sic) share your desire to save what we have left of the planet. We might agree to meet once a week a remind/encourage/praise each other for what we are doing (remembering the cloth bags, tuning the car/checking tire pressure (can bring most cars to near hybrid mpg’s), using water filters and eliminating plastic bottles all together.
    It seems to me that becoming eco-responsible is like exercising, its easier if you have others encouraging you.
    Sorry for the rant; I carry this soap box with me all the time.

    • I love all these ideas, I ‘ll go and check my tire pressure today. Yes, you’re right about encouraging each other. So much better when others are positive and involved. Please feel free to ask how I’m doing on my goal, and share any good green typs you come across.
      Change of subject, but How’s your weather these days?

      • One light dusting of snow, the SWMBO hid under the bed. Rain, followed by cold, followed by more cold…driving me out of the clinic and the poor lads are now joined by two pumpkins, a rabbit and a rather large scar crow…pictures to follow.

    • Hi Judy, This is becoming a problem already. This morning I zipped into Walmart for a quick errand, and ended up with much more stuff than I planned on. No bags so I used my friend “Lets Cut The Crap”‘s idea. Load it all back into the cart and take it out to the car where the bags are. Good back up plan right?

      • I’ve done that, though I’m more likely to tell them I’ll be right back, dash out to the car and grab the bags. It depends on the weather. If it isn’t raining, snowing or insanely cold, I do a better job packing bags anyhow, so it’s a win-win.

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