The Grocery Bag Fee Hits Hard
Right about the time we moved to Eugene, Oregon last year, the city passed an ordinance banning plastic bags. All retail businesses, including grocery stores, department and clothing stores, convenience stores, and local markets were require marc jacobs d to provide only recycled paper bags to consumers for an extra five cents.
That nickel per bag fee doesn’t get earmarked towards any environmental efforts or anything, it goes directly back to the retailer. It’s intended to encourage the use of reusable bags, and thus reduce litter and non biodegradable waste.
Despite Eugene’s reputation as something of a hippy enclave, this was hardly a cutting edge move in terms of promoting green living. Other Oregon cities had already been participating in the plastic bag marc jacobs ban, as well as major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin. Still, reactions from citizens have been predictably passionate, with some cheering on the new regulations and some vowing to drive to the adjoining town of Springfield in order to exercise their god given right to hear that comfortingly familiar question: “Paper or plastic?”
I really wish I could tell you that I’ve been perfectly accepting of the bag ban, but I have not. I haven’t q marc jacobs uite worked myself into a curmudgeonly letter to the editor frenzy, but I’ve done plenty of complaining about it, and here’s why:
Checkout clerks have clearly experienced some negative response about the bag fee from shoppers, because they always over stuff every single bag to cut down on the total number I have to pay for. Thank you.” (Shut up, I forgot them. Yes, AGAIN. Plus have you noticed how gross reusable bags get after a while? I’d like to know just how much E. coli is lurking in the bottom of those damn things).
Clerk: silent judging
Me: defensive stance
The truth is, I know I’ve been petty about what amounts to some very small inconveniences. T marc jacobs he bag ban isn’t going anywhere in fact, in July the City Council voted to keep the mandatory five cent charge in place after fee opponents asked for stores to be given the option of charging consumers for paper. So it seems obvious to me that I can keep bitching and complaining or I can suck it up and do my part to support a worthy environmental effort. This means the materials break down to smaller fragments which soak up toxins. They then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion.
Paper bags have their problems too, obviously. Making paper often causes more pollution, and consumes more energy and water than making plastic does. The best solution is exactly what Eugene is hoping for with the plastic ban and paper fee: a cultural shift away from disposable bags.
I will likely always secretly prefer to receive free bags of my choosing when I buy groceries, because that’s how it’s always been. But as I’m trying to teach myself and my children, being more environmentally aware isn’t about making the most convenient choices or refusing to change ingrained habits simply because they’re familiar.
How you help yourself to remember to bring reusable bags to the store? And what do you do to keep them clean?
Related stories on TakePart:
Bounty Hunter: A Personal Quest to Ditch Paper Products in the Kitchen
Can Sex Toys, Guns, and Grenades Deter Plastic Bag Use?
The Parent Trap: When You’ve Got Kids, Is It Really Possible to Live Green?
Are Reusable Shopping Bags Making Us Sick?
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