My rap on bags

“You don’t want a bag do you?”  The person at the liquor store sees me with some regularity and knows my style.

[I don’t by booze at the store for myself, in that i only seem able to drink sugary blender drinks which i am unwilling to make for myself, but i do shopping for the entire community as a town tripper and thus i am in there almost every week.]

The EU will ban single use plastic bags by 2020

The EU will ban single use plastic bags by 2020.

My usual response is:

“I don’t use bags and want the store management to use the money saved to increase staff salaries.”

This warrants a couple of different responses:

Amusement – “You don’t know my store management.” or

Appreciation – “That would certainly be nice.” or “What a good idea.”

Either way my interaction with the person who was a nameless clerk moments before becomes more positive and more human.  And with some effort and storytelling we can make single use disposable plastic bags an extinct species.

I am asking you to join the conversation.

[Edited by Judy Youngquest]

Tags: , , , , ,

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

12 responses to “My rap on bags”

  1. moonraven222 says :

    Good post! I particularly like your response about using the money saved to increase staff salaries…

    Something that I do is patronize bakeries which are willing to put a loaf of bread into an already used plastic bag that I bring. Anything to not encourage another plastic bag coming into the world.

    • North Star says :

      Moon, if someone suggested raising my salary by the cost of a plastic bag – all of about one cent — I’d tell them in short order where to go. Glad they’re more patient down in Louisa. I love getting plastic bags, in addition to carrying home purchases, they’re great for lining trash cans, a sort of in-house “recycling”.

      • paxus says :

        Interestingly, i never have this response. i make this suggestion several time a week and no one is ever offended. Often they say management would never consider such an option, and perhaps they are just being polite because they are supposed to be as employees, but their candor in criticizing store management makes me think they would say something if they felt it was a cheap offer. i also sense that they recognize the tremendous number of bags these stores actually do go thru, especially since lots of things are bagged with very few items in the bag.

  2. Ken says :

    When I shop at my food coop, we don’t have this topic to discuss since we eliminated bags years ago (via coop-wide decision), but we do have endless other conversations since the workers and shoppers are also the management, and the checkout person doesn’t have a salary because he’s like the rest of the people in the store, in the same position I am, one of 16,000 co-owners working his shift.

    With all that salary money we save, we each spend way less on food and can get more money to the farmers we buy from. And meanwhile we can make good decisions like eliminating bags, even if the capitalist would have argued that it’s “bad for business.”

    So, maybe what I’m saying is that we can eliminate even more bags by eliminating more capitalism and more management, via creating and supporting co-owned and co-operated ventures all around us to cover all our basic needs. More income-sharing communities and member-run food coops and revolutionary models everywhere. Rise up, liquor store workers!

  3. Maisie says :

    plastic bags now cost extra in our area, which has had the effect of training people up on bringing their own. at Whole Foods if you bring your own bags then you get an option of “take off or donate” where donate is a local cause.

  4. richard w. lisko says :

    paxus gotta brand new bag!… here, the cashier asks, would you like five cents or to make a donation? i donate and they say, to urban nutrition? or food for thought? urban nutrition sounds like a good idea to me, i say.

  5. Tara Shakti-Ma says :

    You might find these two links interesting –

    The natural food store we go to charges 5 cents a plastic bag, and credits 5 cents for our own reusable.

    The grocery stores we go to offer a 5 cent credit for reusable bags used as well.

    It’s a step.

    • Ken says :

      If the stores wanted to make a difference, they’d charge $1 per bag or they’d otherwise make it really inconvenient to use a new bag. The coop reuses boxes that food arrived in for carry-out by shoppers. WF wants you to feel like you did something without actually doing something. Considering WF’s prices and thus the wealth of their average shopper, knocking a nickel off your bill (or guilting you into letting WF decide what to do with it) has no impact on waste.

      • Tara Shakti-Ma says :

        Hi Ken. I totally agree. I’m simply referring to a step. I’m more excited about the possibility of them being banned. Personally, I carry my own reusable bags. And I’ve had the same clear produce bags for over 5 years now…I wash them out, hang them on the line to dry and reuse them.

  6. adelord libitum says :

    1)Most of the carbon chains used in plastic are byproducts of fuel refining processes.
    2)The rate at which life is adapting to utilize the energy stored in those carbon chains means that these 1000 year predictions for the lifespan of plastics are fantasy, at best.

    “How much oil is used to make plastic?

    In the United States, plastics are made from liquid petroleum gases (LPG), natural gas liquids (NGL), and natural gas. LPG are by-products of petroleum refining, and NGL are removed from natural gas before it enters transmission pipelines.

    In 20101, about 191 million barrels of LPG and NGL were used in the United States to make plastic products in the plastic materials and resins industry, equal to about 2.7% of total U.S. petroleum consumption. Of those 191 million barrels, 190 million barrels were used as feedstock and 1 million barrels were consumed as fuel

    In addition to petroleum, natural gas is used to manufacture plastic materials and resins. In 2010, about 412 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas were used to make plastic materials and resins, equal to about 1.7% of total U.S. natural gas consumption. Of the 412 Bcf, 13 Bcf were used as feedstock, and 399 Bcf were burned as fuel.

    Electricity is also used to manufacture plastics. In 2010, about 65 billion kilowatt-hours were used, equal to about 1.7% of total U.S. electricity consumption. Only about 1% of the total U.S. petroleum consumed in 2010 was used to generate electricity.

    EIA does not have similar data for other countries, and does not have data on the quantity of plastics materials and resins produced in the United States and in other countries or data on the origin of all the plastic products used in the United States.”


    • North Star says :

      Interesting. Good to have some hard facts when discussing the topic. A lot of people involve themselves in “faddish” behavior for the environment that doesn’t make one iota of difference.

  7. Cara Ziegel says :

    but they still generate a lot of garbage . . . i admit i didnt use reusables until i found ones I liked – Ok, strangely the page wont load for me to link. But its earth tote from Once I got in the habit of using those, i was more willing to use the cheap freebie ones. but I love my earth totes – i got the recycled ones, and they are as big as a paper grocery bag, and very sturdy.

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