Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday's Tips

Go Green.

It's time to start making a difference. There are lots of simple things we can do in our everyday life to help the planet.

Five or ten years ago, the only shoppers you saw that brought their own bags were the long-haired, somewhat unkempt and smelly-looking, Birkenstock wearing, floral skirts and no makeup "hippies" who wanted to do crazy things like reduce waste and buy organic products (and the rest of us thought, "what is organic??" and looked at them skeptically).

Times have changed. Now it's quite common to see shoppers at every store using bags they brought from home.

I recently went to the National Zoo and saw this giant bubble stuffed with plastic bags. What on earth is that? A trash receptacle? But when we walked up to it, we saw a sign that said this was the average number of plastic bags used by someone in one year. WOW, my friend and I said. That's a lot. But it's true... we are always running errands and buying not only groceries in plastic bags but books, CDs, clothes, home goods, office supplies, the list goes on and on. Everything we buy comes in plastic bags. At my house, we reuse the plastic bags for trash can liners, diaper pail liners, doggy clean-up, and so forth, but this still leaves us with lots of extra bags lying around. They can be taken back to the grocery store for recycling, but an even better idea is to bring your own bags. This reduces cost for the store (which trickles down to cost for your groceries), cost for recycling plants, and the effort and energy needed for these things.

So I sound like an expert, right? Well, I'll admit...Yesterday was the first time I'd ever actually gotten around to doing this. Always plan to but seem to forget the bags at home. Yesterday I bought groceries (and a new bag) and was so excited. Made me feel like I did something positive. Most stores now have these bags available by the checkout (usually for around $1) but I also discovered that not all bags are created equal so while it's great to use the bags, if you find one you like, stock up on that style. (My favorite was the Wegmans one). Even if you just use one or two bags every trip, that will cut down your plastic bag consumption dramatically. Let's say you go grocery shopping once a week - if you used just one of your own bags and only for groceries, you would save 52 bags per year!!! So don't you think it's time to make a small change to do something good? If you haven't seen these in your store, stop by one of these places as I know for a fact they have them - Wal-Mart, Running Wearhouse (free w/ purchase), Wegmans, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Whole Foods, and most of the more socially responsible stores. However, you don't need to use these bags - you can use anything you already have at home, so no excuses!

Happy Shopping!!