Paper or Plastic

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When we can get plastic bags, we use them for our small garbage cans located around the house. When we can’t get them, we end up buying small plastic bags for our small garbage cans.

I actually use collapsable plastic crates. I find them easier to use than the reusable bags and they take up less space in my trunk. Plus, they last longer and won’t tear.

I was visiting my family in Austin, Texas and the local grocery store, in order to encourage the use of recyclable bags, charges 25 cents per bag or $1.00 for all the bags you might need if you have a lot of groceries. I was at the grocery store and since I was visiting, I didn’t have or want to buy reusable bags. The cashier asked me what to do, and I told her to go ahead and charge me the dollar for the bags.

She didn’t know how to charge me for the bags, and the next thing I knew, I heard her on the store intercom saying “I need an emergency bag charge on register eight.” I felt everyone looking at me and glaring at the evil being who is out to destroy the world by smothering it in plastic bags.

Necessary link. Keep [del]Austin[/del] Portland Weird.

I use plastic bags for dog poop.

Eugene, Oregon, has outright banned plastic bags.

California, statewide, had likewise passed a law banning them, scheduled to go into effect last July, but that has been delayed for whatever reason. As I noted in the thread-next-door, I’ve been collecting and hoarding them for use as wastebasket liners. Some stores around here give you 5 or 10 cents off for each of your own reusable bags that you bring. When the state law goes into effect, there will be a surcharge for each new paper bag a customer uses (and the plastic bags will be gone).

I recently read, and now cannot remember where, that when tested, reused cloth bags have a high incidence of e coli present in them. Green people apparently do not wash their green appliances very much (possibly out of fears of eutropification of the water downstream from their sewers).

The city of Chicago recently banned disposable plastic bags. So now, instead of the stores using very thin, one-and-done plastic bags, they have to use very thick and heavy, but theoretically reusable, plastic bags. I wonder how many of *these *get thrown out every week, vastly increasing the amount of plastic in the landfills? I’m sure some get recycled, but I’ve found then only good for a couple of trips before they self destruct. I’m betting it’s a net increase in plastic trash.

This article could really use an update. A lot has changed in 15 years.

First, we now know more about where garbage ends up at the end of its life span. Many people are unhappy about the giant garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. Yeah, I know it’s not like a floating island, more like cloudy water infused with tiny shreds of plastic, but it’s still upsetting and the area is fricking huge. Consequently, many cities have passed laws banning single-use plastic grocery bags. I live in one of those cities.

Second, it might make you feel better to take a single-use grocery bag and use it pick up dog poop and then toss the whole thing into the trash, but consider this alternative. Buy yourself a box of pleated sandwich bags and use those to pick up the dog poop. Suppose you pick up one dog poop per day, 365 in a year. Each sandwich bag is much smaller than a grocery bag, so 365 of them into the garbage would be a lot less plastic. Yeah, you lose the smug satisfaction of getting the bags for free but you’ll get over it.

Third, there’s more options than just paper/plastic/cloth. I usually ride my bicycle to the grocery store. I go inside, put the groceries in a cart, don’t use a bag at all, wheel the cart out to my bicycle and put the groceries into my bike basket. Then when I get home I carry the groceries from my bike basket to the kitchen. Or, if I make a quick stop while driving a car and just get two or three items, I don’t need a bag or a basket. I just put the items on the passenger seat. Another option is to reuse a cardboard box. One of the grocery stores we frequent has a bin full of used cardboard boxes right near the door just for this purpose. The only time I use bags at all is if it’s a big once-a-week grocery run in my spouse’s car, and then we make sure to bring three or four cloth bags in with us.

Fourth, if you do use a plastic bag as a trash can liner, it may not be necessary to throw out the liner each time you dump the trash can. In our house, we have four small trash cans that get emptied into one big one. The four small ones don’t need four new liners every time. Strangely enough, despite living in a city where such bags are supposedly “banned”, I always seem to have a few lying around. For one thing, they still give them out at restaurants when you get food to go. Eventually, I may have to go buy a box of small trash can liners that would last me for about a year.

I don’t know what goes into making bags but sandwich bags are several times thicker than grocery bags, so I’d imagine the size difference is a wash at best.

Dog poop can be collected in reuseable glass or ceramic containers, composted and tilled back into the soil … no need to send the poop or plastic bags to the landfill.

Anyone got a good alternative to grocery bags for scooping cat litterboxes? I mean, other than buying wastebasket-liner bags, which wouldn’t exactly reduce plastic use the way the bag-banners want.

And NO, giving up the cat is NOT an option.

Cats can be toilet-trained.

I buy biodegradable poop bags: