Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bag It

Cloth diapers 26 years ago were not what they are now. In hopes of being more Earth friendly, I tried some biodegradable diapers but they started degrading while still being born.  So disposables it was.

There. I've confessed. Two and a half decades later finds me still feeling the need to air that dirty not-laundry. Lucky you, eh?  Out of my new mommy guilt, in so many other ways I was a green earth mom (breastfeeding being the biggie), I decided to see if I could offset the horrific affront I was making to the environment, and I looked into some "green" things.

The result, this then young mama started recycling.

Like a fiend.

The effort in the town I lived it at the time was grassroots, and I jumped on that bandwagon, or truly, recycling wagon. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, after twenty-six years of green--if it can be made into something new, even if I'm far from home, I'm hard-pressed to throw whatever it is into the trash.  When my friends met Brad, they asked him, "You do recycle don't you?" His response, "I guess I do now!" And he does (it's catching!)

Call him Mr. Fiend.

An effort I've been wrangling with for three years now is using reusable shopping bags. I used to use paper bags which would then go out in each week's green bins, but now hardly any stores offer that option. (Remember "paper or plastic?") I was diligently recycling the plastic ones by returning them to the store, but then I learned they are often shipped halfway around the world to be processed. I wondered, does the fossil fuel for said shipping counteract the fossil fuel saved by reworking the bags?

Answer:  Nope.

Outcome:  I switched to reusable bags.

But, do I need matching bags for each store? At Jewel they don't care if they throw things in Dominick's bags, but at Dominick's they once gave Brad more Dominick's bags so they didn't have to use Jewel bags. (Hm, they're both union run stores with workers making a living wage, I mean it's not like he offered them a Wal-Mart bag...but I digress.)  We recently switched to Meijer (how well they pay, I have no idea), and so we bought a bunch of theirs (the best of the reusables it turns out).

We keep them in Brad's truck, and we're pretty good about bringing them into the store.  As typical, Brad is on this bandwagon with me.  But that does make it hard on the rare occasions I'm shopping alone.  Reflecting on this causes me to remember what happened the first time I shopped with reusables without my husband.

Yes, I remembered to put them in the my car before driving to the store. Yes, I remembered to bring them from the car to the store. Then as I was walking into the store a car honked at me. The driver pulled along side me, rolled down her window and called out, "You dropped a bag!" Said bag quickly started to blow away, so I ran after it and stomped on it to trap it.

Got that one.

Then I saw another dropped bag (how did I do that?) skitter under a huge van. I ran to the van's other side to catch it. I mean, I couldn't litter with a bag meant to save the environment, right? It didn't come out the other side.

I got down on my hands and knees to look for it.

The bag was seemingly stuck under the van, twisted somehow to the front tire. I couldn't just leave it there. One it would be littering, and two, what if the lovely anonymous driver unknowingly drove off with a canvas bag wrapped around his wheel and got into a horrible accident?

I had to decide, should I try to crawl under the van and grab it or wait for the van's owner to come out? Whilst mulling this over, another swift breeze picked up, and I caught the bag, not literally but out of the corner of my eye, dislodged by the wind and billowing away from the van and toward Payless. I ran after it, dodging traffic and all the while holding onto (I hoped) my other half dozen bags. Finally, past Payless and in front of Hallmark, the wind halted, and I was able to stomp my foot a few times, finally capturing the bag's handles with my heel. I would have captured it with my first stomp had I not been so winded from laughing at myself.

Ellie breathlessly saves the planet!

Sort of.


  1. Mine make it to the car...and then...ugh I am terrible! I don't think it should matter if you have matching store bags!

  2. I try to remember my reusable bags...it seems easier to remember when shopping at Trader Joe's. Perhaps because they ring a bell when you bring your own bag?! Pam H

    1. I want a bell rung!! Too bad I don't like near a Trader Joe's.

  3. Where you in a hurricane or something - WOW! :)

    I love my reusable bags. they're easier to carry in/out & they sit up better in the car. Those plastic things? Everything falls out. I HATE 'em!

    I have a car tote thing in the back of my car with all the bags so I can grab a handful whenever I got in the grocery.
    Kohl's sells some that fold up into a tiny square that you can put in your purse until you get done shopping. I like to take those into the mall.

  4. I LOVE my reusable bags. Like you, I do use non-store at the store. And no, Meijer does not give you free bags in lieu of using competitors. That said, I found the best bags to be the insulated type. The double in helping me get food home without melting in the summer.

    And to avoid your adventures... I admit, I bought one really big bag, that I use to keep all of my reusable bags... :)

  5. Lol! That was the most exciting story I've heard to go after fly away bags!

    I love those light weight reusable bags that can be folded or rolled down to next to nothing. So I always have 2 in my purse in the event I forget to bring bags to the store or didn't bring enough.

  6. I didn't always love my reusable bags and now I get annoyed when I forget to bring them to the store and have to lug the plastic bags homes. They break easy. They're hard to carry while pushing a stroller. I never know what to do with them when I get home.

    Times have changed and so have cloth diapers.


I'd like to be humble and say I only blog to record the doings of my life, but really, I blog for conversation, and I would love to hear from you. It's okay if you don't agree with me, that's what makes life interesting.