Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two words: Try them.

I have two words for you people:

Reusable bag.
Why don't Americans get on this bandwagon? I really don't get it. It's painless. It's a win-win. They used to use those handy little plastic bags everywhere here in Ireland, too. Then, in 2002, the government instituted a "bag tax" of 15 cents per plastic bag and within 5 months, the government had raised 3.5 million euro and cut their plastic bag usage by 90%.

Sorry. Maybe I didn't get that across. THEY RAISED 3.5 MILLION EURO FOR THEMSELVES AND CUT DOWN ON THE PLASTIC BAGS FLYING AROUND BY NINETY PERCENT. (I got this information from this BBC article.)

Aside from the fact that I have never once seen a plastic Tesco bag fluttering along the roadside or floating in a ditch, it is really refreshing to see everyone trundling into the grocery store with a handful of their own bags. A lot of times, the bag says something about the owners. Most of mine are generic bags I bought from the store, like the one in the photo, but I have a canvas one I bought at a farmer's market in Hawaii on my honeymoon, and a pretty flowered one. The other day, I saw a woman carrying one from Target, and they don't even have Targets here. I've seen teenagers carrying Abercrombie & Fitch bags in with them (isn't Abercrombie over YET?) and old ladies with the little rolley carts like this:

So of course I have to have one of these little old lady carts with a plaid lining immediately.

So the reusable bags. They hold twice as much as the plastic bags, and if you forget them you still can pay 15 cents for a plastic one, which isn't much, and you can still line your trash cans with it. They are one of my favorite things about living here. I have seen Wal-Mart, Target and other chain stores selling their own reusable bags for $1.00, and if you don't want to pay the buck, have fun! If you're like me, you have a pike of paper and plastic shopping bags from other stores in your pantry you can use. I know some people (my mother being one of them) don't think the environment needs them to extend any extra effort, but aside from the obvious environmental benefits--oh, and the revenue from selling plastic bags, ---oh, and the reduction of litter and the larger carrying capacity...well, it's just fun. And once you get into the habit of leaving them in your car, it's like second nature to you. Americans, get on this train. It's headed for a better place.

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