*UPDATE, at bottom. Because I still want you to see the pictures. But I'll give you a hint: I'm pretty much lying in the title of this post now.*
This is hanging off the tree in my front yard.
Right there. I can see it here from the kitchen table that doubles as “Mommy’s Desk.” And unlike that guy in American Beauty with the four-minute video roll, I don’t find it particularly beautiful.
I HATE the plastic bag. I lived in Central America for a year and plastic bags are as much a part of the landscape as palm trees. In my own city, plastic bags adorn barbed wires, the empty corners of parking lots, every arroyo that crisscrosses Albuquerque and apparently large, aging Mulberry trees.
But that said, I don’t bring reusable bags to the grocery store. I go out of my way to bring home paper bags and definitely plastic bags. I even opt out of the 5 to 10 cent bag refund. Only getting some milk? I might ask for a bag—if I need one.
The reason the grocery bag goes into the FAIL category is I have five trash cans in my home and two of them use – you got it, plastic bags. The kitchen “trash can” is a paper grocery bag sitting in a plastic bucket (to give the mice and cockroaches an extra hurdle). And the garage trash is in hubs' territory into which I don’t venture but it involves all the dead cockroaches he kills that he doesn’t want me to know about. Blech.
If Albuquerque decided to ban plastic bags like LA and San Francisco and Rwanda and Haiti (yep, score one for the third worlds), would I riot outside our grocery store wearing a Walmart-bag bikini or start stockpiling Hefty Hefty CinchSaks? Nah. I’d be on board. But I don’t think we are a society that likes to be told what to do. How about the new trend of charging you for bags instead giving you credit for bringing your own bags? Fine. I’d probably start bringing cardboard boxes à la Costco. But for now I'll let my grocer be my enabler.
Bold enough to call myself Zero Waste Mommy, but cheap enough to use store grocery bags instead of trash bags? Yes. But ZWM is about practical approaches to Zero Waste. I have a budget to adhere to and this works for us. Ideally one day I’ll reduce my waste enough so I won’t have to bring trash bags home.
In the meantime, how long will that baby be around?