“Paper or plastic?” asks the cashier.
Its a split second question that really has more than just 2 answers. It really has about 4 different answers. You could say “paper” or “plastic,” but what if you said “none” or “here are mine.”
“So paper or plastic?” this time a little louder.
But what is your default at the grocery store? Because the people are piling up behind you, your kids are whining, we need to get dinner started, and the cashier is getting annoyed.
“Plastic is fine.”
That’s the default for many. It’s the pressure of the moment. Plastic is so convenient. The cashier quickly tugs the plastic away from itself and starts stuffing in your groceries, double bags your milk, and single wraps your meats. There. It’s over.
But it’s not really over for that plastic bag. That plastic bag has another 100 years to live and more than 1 million bags were just used in the past minute. This is another scenario that creates pressure. Not necessarily pressure on you, but on the environment, people, and animals that will live with the plastic bag the rest of it’s 100 years. Plastic bags are responsible for polluting waterways, highways, and the oceans. They are “found floating in the oceans where they choke, strangle, and starve wildlife” (National Geographic, 2003).
Because of this increased environmental pressure, communities around the world have been banning or taxing single-use, plastic shopping bags. In my home state of Minnesota, our major city Minneapolis just passed on an ordinance that bans single-use plastic shopping bags and will charge for paper bags to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags (StarTribune, 2016). The ordinance will go in to effect June 2017. No longer will the pressure of the moment be allowed to get to you, but the pressure will be for the consumer to carry groceries responsibly.
I have my stock of reusable bags; you can buy them anywhere. But my favorite bag that I own is my Norwex Reusable Grocery Bag with BacLock™. Not only can this bag carry the weight of my groceries, but it cleans itself! You can’t get more convenient than that! The BacLock™ lining, the microsilver woven into the material, is designed to inhibit bacterial odor, mold and/or mildew growth on the bag. The quote on the bag reminds all of us why we shoulder this temporary inconvenience, to ” Be the Green in the World.” Our world needs us to be green so let’s be prepared for that split second question. Be ready to say, “I brought my own.”