About a year ago, I invested in a set of really good reusable bags. Not your average $1 reusable bags, the ones I bought are made to last. They're a matching animal set from Envirosax. Designed to hold over 40 pounds, they are durable, cute, and roll up so tiny that I can carry two spares in my purse. I adore them. I've given them as gifts to loved ones, and have even purchased a set for my husband's car.
I'm devoted to using bags that aren't plastic. I always try to remember to pull one out, even at places like the pharmacy, although I admit there are occasions I forget. Most days, though, I have my bags with me and am prepared to use them, even though it might take the cashier just a little bit longer, especially when I have a lot of stuff. I take good care of them, making sure I wash them after use.
So with all this effort, it's important to me that I'm not carelessly adding plastic to the landfills. Which is why when I get to the grocery store I'm always hoping for an efficient bagger. One that isn't afraid to fill them to the brim, that doesn't feel the need to double bag my onions in harmful plastic so they don't get onion peels in my bags (hey, look, they're clean, that means I don't mind washing them!). I realize their intent, while environmentally naive, is well-meant.
Last weekend, though, I had the worst checker I'd ever had. Oh, she was nice and all. She just couldn't bag for anything! I'd brought in 4 of my Envirosax, and over time I've become quite accomplished at being able to eyeball a cart and know exactly how many bags I need. If I have more than I can bag, I stop shopping (seriously). Anyhow, this checker kept putting two items in a bag and handing it over. While she chatted on about how busy they'd been that day, I secretly redistributed the items into another bag and slyly placed the empty bag back on the kiosk for her to fill again.
I never said anything. I remember what it was like to be a cashier from a stint in college at Toys R Us; I still recall dealing with lousy shifts, disgruntled customers, and micromanaging bosses. The last thing you need is some bossy customer trying to tell you how to bag groceries. Even if they say it nicely. So I continued to try to redistribute and shuffle bags back as quickly as I could without her noticing, but she got into the plastic bags anyhow. The horrors! Twice I emptied plastic bags and slid them back empty onto the holders. Yet I still ended up with four plastic bags (half full) and four reusable bags (half full) in my cart.
I told the cashier that I hoped her afternoon was quieter than the morning had been. And I went on my way, knowing that we would reuse the plastic bags at least once before sending them on to a landfill. There was still a part of me, though, that felt awfully bad about those plastic bags, although I think it was good I left her alone to do her job. I'm sure you're thinking - four plastic bags? That's such a small thing. And it is a small thing, but I feel like not using plastic bags is a tiny way I'm making a difference in my daily life. Yes, a part of me kept saying on the way home, but it matters to me. The plastic bags matter to me.
Readers, when you feel really passionate about something, do you say anything?
Linking up today with Pour Your Heart Out.