I really don't know what's wrong with me. I mean, I care so much about the environment and I know damn well that plastic bags are a bad thing, and yet four out of five times, I'll get to wherever I'm shopping and realize I've left my cool string bags (purchased at a jumble sale), or the plastic ones I've assiduously been accumulating, at home. So I cram as much as I can into my handbag (and when I was still in NYC I was often to be seen crossing 6th ave with a pile of unbagged Citarella items balanced under my chin) or the basket of the baby stroller, but usually end up needing to take a bag or two.
So today I took a tip I found on eco-worrier and hung lots of bags on a hook by the front door. Surely even I won't manage to forget them if they're right there?
To be fair, the farm stand and health food store where I mostly shop up here offer recycled bags, and when I remember, I take along a big pile for them to reuse. But having just accumulated the following factoids, I don't think even the occasional slip is excusable. Check it out:
- it takes as much petroleum to produce 14 plastic bags as it does to drive a mile (and here's something I didn't know - paper bags take even more) - via Laurie David.
- plastic bags take 1000 years to decompose - via the EPA
- only 1% of plastic bags in the US are recycled - via the EPA
- when one ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved - via the EPA
- in New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by five million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs - via the EPA
Who knew that if we all stopped using placcy bags, we might stand a chance of bringing those troops home from Iraq, among many other benefits? (Until I started this blog, I had no idea how many things I do every day increase our reliance on oil - water bottles, most regular body and face creams, scling film/saran wrap, washing up liquid, buying non-local products and now the grocery bags too.)
So let's just hope I don't fall foul of my own idiot-proof system.