*disclaimer--while i would not call myself an environmentalist, i am not opposed to taking care of our planet. today i am just venting frustration at how it will inconvenience me. so please find the humor in my discomfort rather than being indignant at my attitude.
so today . . . i've been thinking about this whole illegal plastic bag thing . . .
in case you haven't heard, the california legislature has banned plastic grocery bags. you know, those plastic grocery bags that we all use to put our shoes and laundry in when we travel, and collect our empty soda cans in to take to recycling, and to line our small wastebaskets, and most importantly, to pick up doggie bombs? yes, well, we will no longer have access to those bags.
ironically the language in the legislation actually bans "single use plastic bags." for me, a sandwich bag is single use. a large garbage bag is single use. even plastic wrap is single use. the one type of plastic bag which is definitely NOT single use is the plastic grocery bag. we keep them in our kitchen, in both bathrooms, in the trunk of the car, and with our luggage. i even keep a bunch of them at school for those occasional bathroom accidents that preschoolers are prone to have. and i cannot leave the house to walk milo without one of those bags. because while mia is too busy walking to stop for anything, milo's walk is not complete until he has proven to the neighborhood that his digestive system is working just fine!
apparently california legislators do not have to deal with their household garbage or doggie poop. because for those of us who do, those plastic grocery bags are essential and definitely multi-purpose. but we are going to have to learn to function without them. instead, we are being encouraged to buy reusable cloth bags for our groceries.
i don't really have a problem with the whole cloth shopping bag idea. in fact, the trunk of my car is home to three giant costco reusable bags, three small trader joe's bags, two red target bags, one green subway bag (which scores me a free cookie every time i use it!) and a bag i got at forever 21 with a colorful bird on it. i could probably use the bird bag at any store since there is no name or logo on it, but i always think of it as my forever 21 bag. clearly i am going to have to buy some stater bros bags, or getting my groceries home is going to be a challenge . . .
i know that technically i can use any of these bags in any store. i know this in my head. but if i were to walk into stater bros with my trader joe's bags, i would feel like i was cheating on trader joe's! after all, i bought those bags at trader joe's, and i'm sure it was their intent that i use them when i shop at trader joe's. i'm sure they want me to look at those bags in my trunk and think, "oh, i need to go to trader joe's to buy groceries today," NOT "oh, i'm glad i have these trader joe's bags to carry my groceries home from stater bros in." then again, maybe if i used my trader joe's bags at stater bros, other shoppers would see them and abandon their shopping carts and flock to trader joe's, but i kind of don't think so.
i can see this cloth bag thing is going to be an issue for my ocd tendencies. i am going to feel like i have to have the correct bags for each store. the trunk of my car is doomed to be filled with all these shopping bags, which is going to make actually bringing any groceries home in it a challenge. but i think the bigger challenge is going to be remembering to take the bags in with me . . .
i already have trouble with this. how many times have i found myself at the checkout line at costco thinking, "oh rats! i left my reusable bags in the trunk of my car again!!" which leaves the cashiers no choice but to put my eggs and cheese and broccoli in big cardboard boxes which won't fit in my trunk. so when i get to my car, i have to unload the boxes, then find a place to dispose of the boxes (because as i just said, they won't fit in my trunk!) and then take my groceries into the house one armload at a time. i could use the reusable costco bags i keep in the trunk to take the groceries into the house, except they are always underneath the unloaded groceries.
so, you may ask, what do you do if you live in california and you go to the grocery store and you forget to take your properly silk-screened cloth bags in with you?
well, you have two choices. you can either buy new cloth bags--which are usually fairly reasonably priced (but after i forget 20 times, it is going to add up--at $1.99 each,) or you can spend a minimum of five cents for each paper bag you use. that's right, we will be allowed to buy paper bags.
ok, so let's just think about this for a minute. we can't have plastic bags because they are bad for the environment (even though they are very useful around the house,) but we can buy all the paper bags we want (even though technically trees must die to produce those bags.) ok, just so we are clear--we are doing this for the environment . . .
lest you think our legislators are totally crazy, (i'll just insert a pause here so you can laugh hysterically,) the paper bags are required by law to be made from 60% recycled materials. i guess paper bags are environmentally friendly as long as you only have to kill enough trees to manufacture 40%. and i guess plastic bags are ok as long as you buy them from glad or hefty. and i guess the planet isn't in immediate danger, because this ban on plastic grocery bags does not go into effect until january 2012.
i figure that gives me a year and a half to stockpile them. let's see . . . if i double bag everything and only put an item or two in each one . . .