Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Are you on the BAGwagon?

So, yesterday on Pinterest, I stumbled upon a tutorial for reusable grocery bags. And then I rolled my eyes and thought, "Hey, hipsters, where do you put your trash?"

Here's the deal. I don't use reusable grocery bags for two reasons.

1. I'd have no trash bags at home. What would I use to tie up poopy diapers? Where would I put the rotten food when I clean out my fridge? I'd have to go back to the store and purchase plastic bags instead of recycling my store bags.

2. I hate the planet. Well, not really. I just hate this extreme green movement and that a huge majority of companies cater to it. I hate that it's perceived as "cool," with people following blindly in their plaid flannel shirts and poor posture. It's absolutely ridiculous and extreme.

*litter: grocery bags, styrofoam cups, newspapers, food wrapping, plastic utensils, other crap
The thing that infuriates me is that some US cities have even banned plastic bags! Why? Because plastic bags = litter. Because if some people litter, we will restrict the rights of all. Does that sound fair and "American?"

I get the litter thing. I do. Growing up on the East Coast in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we were drilled all through grade school about the dangers of litter in the waterways. But, that's the problem: litter, not plastic bags.

I just hate that government can ban things like plastic bags instead of addressing the cause of the problem. Why not put all that effort into campaigns to educate people? Why not encourage bag recycling?

Here's an example of the problem, laid out in Wikipedia's article, Plastic Shopping Bags. In January 2010, Washington DC instituted a five-cent tax on plastic bags, which consequently decreased "consumption from 22.5 million to 3 million bags in the first month alone." The result? "A 2011 study...found that the District of Columbia’s five-cent bag tax had a disproportionate impact on the city’s poor and cost the city over 100 jobs."

That same article states that "all types of plastic shopping bags can be recycled into new bags where effective collection schemes exist." It continues to explain that in the year 2007 alone, even though the United States only had a 7% rate of plastic bag recycling, it equaled more than 800,000,000 pounds of bags and plastic film being recycled. And here's the zinger. For each ton of plastic bags that's recycled, it saves the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil. Um, HELLO people who are freaking out about energy consumption! Aren't you the same ones who are banning plastic bags?!

Banning those bags may seem noble and heroic to some, but it's naive. It's scooping water out of a sinking boat instead of patching the hole. This plastic bag issue is limited in it's scope, not addressing the entire issue, not acknowledging the results from every side. Talk about being a blind follower.

Oh, and the pic above is pretty shocking, huh? Well, here's some news for ya. It was Photoshopped. Look at the large white bag on the far right. See how the fence grid is three times larger than the actual fence behind it? How many more can you find? This is fear and sensationalism at it's best. Don't fall for it.

*Image source


  1. Yup. I use plastic bags as trash bags for my small trash cans in the office and bathrooms. Outlawing plastic bags is exactly why our government needs to be smaller, so they don't have time to stick their nose in everything and try to control our lives.

    P.S. I love your analogy of scooping water out of the sink instead of patching the hole. That describes it perfectly!

  2. LOVE IT!!! I agree, we spend way too much time placing bandaids instead of actually finding the real problem.
    Plus I am apposed to more government interference. If the government can ban plastic bags, what is to stop them from banning more and more things.