i know it may be cliched to say but californians care more about the environment. and as i was born and raised in that state i have had a consciousness about the environment almost as long as i can remember. so when this new craze of going green popped up a few years ago, i was both excited and a little scared that it was just a fad. i also decided to challenge myself to find ways that i could be more green. this is when i decided to be more diligent about plastic bags.
no, i'm not talking about plastic shopping bags, i've been on the tip for years. i have used reusable bags grocery shopping since i started shopping for myself. i remember just a mere seven years ago, as i purchased a cloth bag in stop and shop, being told by the checker that i was the first person he had ever sold a bag to. seth has had a shtick for year where he tells the bagger his girlfriend is trying to save the world. i also have an obscene collection of reusable bags, and seth in fact calls me a bag lady, though my bag problem has grown significantly.
any person who is diligent about using reusable shopping bags knows that you still end up with a shit load of them because you forget to bring one into target or you don't speak up quick enough when they bag your one item at the convenience store. so that is one of my other ever growing collections of bags.
what i am talking about being more diligent about are all the plastic bags that everything we buy comes in. the plastic bags for produce at the supermarket, the plastic bag for my loaf of bread, the plastic bag for my frozen fruit, the plastic bag for my ball of pizza dough, the plastic bag for my slivered almonds.... the list just keeps going. and then there is the plastic wrapping and the plastic containers, and the plastic bottles, and the plastic forks. our world is fucking plastic and what is a girl who is a hippy at heart suppose to do?
i rinse them all out, dry them on my large aloe plant, recycle them, reuse them, or repurpose them. this creates another collection of bags. there is the collection of bags that are still strong enough and clean enough to be reused. and then there is the collection of bags that need to be recycled. portland is amazing about recycling (another reason why i love this city) but they don't recycle plastic bags at the curb. so every month or so, i bring my mammoth collection of need-to-be-recycled bags into hannafords or whole foods to recycle them.
of note i actually went to grad school with a woman whose father invented the plastic soda bottle. as you can imagine her family is super rich. she is a sweet person and i wouldn't want to wish ill will on her family, but maybe daddy should have to pay for some of the mess he has made.
one of my other new environmental challenges has been to get rid of all toxic house hold cleaners. the garden of eating blog has a great section on this if you want to take this challenge.