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Reduce: stop the plastic bag insanity!

Dscn0885 As I loaded up the back of my car on Saturday with plastics for the Master Recycler Plastics Roundup, I noticed that I didn't have nearly as much as I did at the last Roundup. I remember I had to fold one of the seats down to fit it all in. This dearth of plastic is either because 1) the Roundups were held closer together this time, or 2) my family has reduced its plastic intake. I'm leaning toward #1. What hasn't changed is the amount of plastic bags crammed into that giant tube (plus that blue bag is stuffed with plastic bags). I think the majority of plastic bags we generate come from:

  • Delivery of two newspapers each morning (2-4 bags each day, because they'll double-bag if it's raining)
  • Sliced sandwich bread (about 3 loaves per week)
  • Grocery store produce and bulk bags (because I never bring enough small, reusable bags to the store)
  • Grocery store plastic shopping bags (because my husband is still a reusable grocery bag user-in-training)
  • Miscellaneous food packaging, like the plastic around the giant loaf of cheese or a tortilla chip bag

Let's delve deeper and see if we can trim our plastic bag dependence, shall we?:

  • I cannot budge my husband on the biggest culprit, the newspapers. He insists we need both papers. The only other solution would be to lobby the newspapers to reuse these bags, which are usually in perfect condition. I will do this as soon as I knock off the first 76 goals on my to-do list.
  • If my son does not eat peanut butter sandwiches every day, he will wither up and blow away. For now, the bread stays.
  • I need about 8 small reusable bags that I stow with my shopping bags so that I never have to reach for that roll of plastic produce bags again. This is an easy, do-able fix.
  • For big shopping trips, my husband always remembers the reusable bags. But for quickie trips, he often forgets and brings home the crinkly plastic. I will not pester him about this because he's made such great strides (for a man).
  • We don't eat much processed food, but I love tortilla chips. And I've never seen cheese packaged in anything but plastic (except maybe at a gourmet cheese shop where they might wrap it in paper). I guess I could be a bit more hyper-vigilant about buying fewer food items wrapped in plastic, but frankly I already feel about as hyper-vigilant about food as I can handle right now.

Hmmm. Not much progress here. I guess we'll stick with the sure-fire EnviroMom baby step method and start with the produce bags. Once I get that under control I can tackle one of these other categories. How about you? Have you successfully weaned yourself off of most plastic bags? Any tips (or challenges) to share?

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