Paper or Plastic? Grocery store delimma

Yeah yeah, I know its the vogue thing nowadays to buy some reusable tote bag for your groceries, but what if you make an impromptu stop at the grocery store, but your totes are at home?  And honestly, do you want your apples going into the same bag that last week’s chicken dribbled salmonella into?

The answer is simple – even if they do not ask:  Demand PAPER!

I do, and here is why:

  • My city has curbside recycling.  They’ll take any form of paper, and some forms of plastic, but NOT plastic grocery bags.  So just toss those paper grocery bags into your recycle bin.  What could be easier?
  • Paper bags compost surprisingly well.  Put your compostable kitchen scraps into a paper bag to transport out to the compost bin, and just toss the whole bundle in.  (You DO have a compost bin, right?  Watch for future blog post about that.)
  • Paper bags make great firestarter for your fireplace, chimenia, firepit or grill.  Plastic, notsomuch.
  • Which are you more likely to see blowing around town, or stuck high up in trees?  Paper bags or plastic bags?  Either way, which is potentially more harmful to wildlife and plant growth?  (hint: see composting above)
  • Paper bags are made from a renewable domestic resource.  Plastic bags come from a finite and usually foreign resource.  Until cars run on paper bags, maybe we should reserve those few remaining T-Rex heads for that, and not waste them on toting groceries.
  • For reasons unknown, paper bags rarely end up with just one item in them.  Conversely, its quite common to arrive home with plastic bags containing one item.  What a waste!

The only “problem” with paper bags is that the skill & thought going into bagging groceries is lost on the current generation of clerks.  In the era of plastic bags, they just toss stuff randomly into whatever receptacle you request. So be prepared to pack your order yourself: build an organized foundation, fragile and light things on top.

Many cities are banning plastic bags, and lots of stores are doing away with them.  It’s no surprise why!

Oh, and one final thought:  If the product comes with its own handle (milk jugs, detergent boxes, etc), just skip bagging altogether.  It’ll save resources and probably be easier to carry anyway.


~ by Patrick Larkin Jr on November 5, 2009.

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