Friday, August 21, 2009

Plastic bags need to go

This morning, I read that Mexico City has banned the use of plastic bags. It's a wonderful idea. I wish more communities would follow their lead.

A CNN report on the ban said 90 percent of bags used in the United States are not recycled. I believe it. If I get a plastic bag, I recycle it by using it for a small trash can liner. Then it goes into the landfill with the trash.

The city of San Francisco apparently banned the plastic bags in 2007. Los Angeles may impose a ban, if the state doesn't enact a 25-cent per bag fee. That's always a good way to change a person's habit — charge them more money for the service.

I have always liked the idea of recycling, but have not always found it to be practical. Rural communities don't always have the resources or the facilities to recycle materials. In one community, I helped initiate a limited recycling project. In another, I just sorted and dropped my recyclables in the labeled bins at the community trash site. I cringed in my North Carolina hometown, because officials always said they sorted the recyclables out of the trash. I'm still shaking my head over that one. 

Here, in Del Rio, the city has a great recycling center. The hours are reasonable to allow people to drop off materials (Saturday hours), the staff is very friendly and they accept an assortment of materials. My husband and I generate one bag of trash each week after we remove all the items to be recycled.

When I first arrived in town, there was some mention the city might ban plastic bags here. That idea hasn't taken hold yet, but I promise the plastic tumbleweeds continue to have a hold on our community. 

In Texas, there really should be a movement to ban the bags. If one gets loose, it can blow for miles and inevitably gets stuck atop the shrub or in a fence. I know it's not scientific, but my opinion is the bags remain there forever.

I take reusable bags into the grocery  and discount stores along with my shopping list. I've been doing it for more than a year now. I feel guilty, if I forget to take them into the store. It's easy. You just grab a few bags and carry them in with your purse. I think everyone should try it. You might like it.


  1. We've been using reusable bags since before it was hip. Sadly, I went to the store without my reusable shopping bags yesterday to collect a few more trash liners. The bags available to buy for trash liners are thicker and more substantial, not to mention an additional cost. Any ideas on how to solve the trash liner problem?

  2. Once they are banned (if it ever comes to that), we'll probably just have to buy the trash liners. For me, I had a healthy stash of plastic bags before I began using the reusable bags. I may have to resort to your technique in the future. We use like two bags for small trash cans a week.

  3. I now have a nice supply of the cloth bags, but half the time I forget to get them out of the trunk and carry them into the store with me. Regardless of what we do, there will always be unintended consequences, you know. Boycott plastic bags, you put plastic bag makers out of a job. Seems like we could just learn how to make something useful out of those annoying plastic bags -- what we make would surely last forever.


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