I can't tell you the number of times I've driven to town from out here in Blackwater, following one of the city trash trucks as plastic bag after plastic bag blew out the top of the truck's trash container. It's not that individuals are tossing the bags out along the roads, although I frequently see bags blowing out of pick-up truck beds. Shoppers put their plastic bags in the trash - since we don't recycle them at curbside yet - but if the bags aren't knotted or put inside another container (another plastic bag!?) before being dumped into the trash, they blow out of the trash trucks and waft off into the ditches where they are carried into other waterways, into the trees where they blow in the wind for months and into all of the yards, shrubs and fields along the way.
If you read the Virginian-Pilot article, you noticed that the ACC (American Chemistry Council - a big plastics support lobby) claimed that the ban could only "force people back to paper" and cited the environmental and economic costs of paper bags. Ditto from concerned retailers who now again have to purchase more costly paper bags for their customers. Nonsense!!! Paper bags aren't the only response to the plastic shopping bag problem or to this legislation. Why is there little emphasis on reuseable shopping bags??
I love carrying my shopping bags (and I adore those big, insulated bags grocery stores sell now). The bags are bright and fun and it cheers me up immensely to see my goodies packed in colorful, bags. Fellow shoppers admire my shopping cart! More effective is the fact that I can put my groceries in about four of the strong, woven reuseable shopping bags, where it used to take almost a dozen of the flimsy plastic baggies.
It took a while to stop leaving the bags in the car when I went shopping but once I made myself GO BACK to the car and get them a few times, I started to remember. I also really do enjoy the positive comments from other shoppers and I love, love, love seeing more and more reuseable bags in other shoppers' carts. I now also carry a couple of the nylon bags that roll up to nothing in my purse so that I always have a bag handy, whether I'm grocery shopping, mall shopping - whatever.
My own friends tease me about being a fanatic. Wrong generation, I guess. Some of the most appreciative comments I hear come from the young clerks at the stores. A store clerk packing my foodstuffs held up my flower and abstract patterned grocery bag the other day, turning it to admire all sides. "Awesome!" she exclaimed.
I agree wholeheartedly.
Oh, and there are special bags for the Hokie shoppers.... how could anyone resist?