February 9, 2014

No Reusable Grocery Bags in this Station Wagon

*UPDATE, at bottom of post.  Because I still want you to see the pictures.*

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.


After diapers.

In the meantime, how long will that baby be around?

UPDATE:  well, I DO bring reusable grocery bags to the store now.  My goal is ZERO grocery bag usage.  But I find that I still have plastic bags in my life.  Friends collect them and give them to me, or someone sends something home with my child in a plastic bag (the thing, not my child - this isn't Sopranos).  Here's the update post.


  1. A few notes:

    -Sounds like the hubs needs to climb his butt into that tree and make your view from the Mommy desk nicer.
    -If you ever show up in a plastic bag bikini, please have someone take pictures.
    -Seriously, though, we have about 5.4x10^6 reusable bags in our minivan and still forget to bring them into the store. If the store has plastic, we take those, and then use them for doggie doo-doo pick-up or litter cleaning. If they have paper bags (a la Whole Paycheck) then we use them in our home as recycle bins.
    -Cockroaches...blech. Remind me to tell you about the rice cooker-cockroach melding incident in chez Tyson.

    1. Blech is right! Instead of reuse, that rice cooker may have been my primer on recycling scrap metal.

    2. The hubs did wait for me to post before Mr. A-Type took it down.

  2. Nice post. Glad to find your blog. Thanks for sharing.

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