Ban Plastic Bags (AKA Get A Life…)

delhi-government-to-ban-plastic-bagsThere’s a new social website called Nextdoor, which looks like a different-colored Facebook with a local focus. It’s very new, very earnest, and in its early days utterly lacking in humor, relevance or meaning.

The BIG topic on my town’s Nextdoor is … horror of horrors … plastic bags and the need to ban them. Neighbors are encouraged to show up at a city council meeting to speak out in support of the ban. Unfortunately, I will not be in town. But if I were, I would speak in support of plastic bags and all their wondrous uses. Of course, I am sick to death of people who can’t convince others on the merits of their argument and instead resort to tyranny, but I’ll save that for another day.

On Nextdoor there is one particular member leading the charge. The thread is up to 22 replies, mostly in support of the ban, full of the most mind-numbing and banal statistics about how plastic bags are the scourge of the earth–none of which I have read because, newsflash, I have a life. (It’s not an interesting life, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be any more interesting were I get up to speed about how plastic bags are supposedly ruining the earth.)

On the plastic bag ban thread there is also a link to a documentary movie made about plastic bags called Bagit. Oh, to have a life so full and so empty of challenges that one could devote their artistic energy towards a movie about plastic bags. Whoever you are, I am sure your grandmother is VERY proud. And for your parents’ sake I hope the student loans are paid off and you’re not sleeping on their couch…

I have already posted on Nextdoor that you will have to pry my plastic bags out of my cold dead hands. I didn’t exactly say it like that, but I did mention that were my small town to ban plastic bags, I will drive to the next town to do my shopping. Last week I was in Pasadena and was forced to throw a fairly nice and expensive (for me) shirt into my purse to fight it out with string cheese wrappers and leaky pens and Cheerios because I was unwilling to pay 10 cents for a bag. I actually had the dime (not always the case), but I sorely resent others trying to make me feel guilty for the conveniences of modern life.  I don’t have much to spend, but the towns that get my business will be ones where I don’t feel like a third-world peasant. What’s next? Walking along Colorado Blvd. balancing things on my head because no one will give me a container to put my purchases in?  Needless to say, that will be the last time I shop in Pasadena.

Is it just me, or do you feel these people aren’t going to be happy until we’re living in caves cooking a hamster for dinner? And how the heck will we cook it now that fires are banned in Los Angeles? (Coming soon to a town hear you!)

There are a lot of kids and young adults who live in my house, and a few who live nearby who, when the wind is right, can smell meat on our barbecue (or even the bell from the microwave) and show up at just the right time. All are welcome and nothing makes me happier than a table full of food surrounded by hungry teenagers. So we buy a lot of groceries.  My husband does most of the grocery shopping and we couldn’t afford to buy enough reusable bags for him to use on his weekly run. And where the heck would I store the reusable bags? I can cram about 100 plastic grocery bags into an empty Kleenex box. Plus, I’m sorry. He’s tall, he’s good looking. He’s got a full head of hair. Why ruin that look by hanging a dozen reusable bags on his arms?

So if plastic grocery bags are banned in my small corner of the world, I have a few questions:

What am I supposed to put dog poop in? What’s the environmental difference between the plastic bag from Pavilions and the plastic bags I buy in a box?

Closet space in this house is limited and we do a lot of runs to the Goodwill. If I don’t use plastic grocery bags for those donations I will be forced use plastic trash bags I bought at the grocery store. Again, someone tell me the difference–other than the difference in my wallet.

My mother is 86 and walks to the grocery store every day to buy a few things. She can easily carry a plastic bag; that’s not the case with a paper bag. I love Trader Joe’s, and my family would have starved to death long ago without them, but can someone invent a bag where the handle doesn’t separate when I have something heavier than a bag of frozen something-or-other for dinner and a jar of almond butter?

Luggage! When you’re camping, there’s no better luggage than plastic grocery bags. As the week goes by, you fill those plastic bags with gross socks and other clothes you never want to see (or smell) again as long as you live. You get home and have the opportunity to throw the whole bag in the garbage can and forget it ever existed. Keep the memory, the socks aren’t worth it. That’s my mantra.

For 25 years the checker at Pavilions has said, “Do you need any help to your car?” And for 25 years I have politely declined. I can’t wait until they make that offer, after I’ve refused to pay whatever tariff has placed on plastic bags. It will finally be time to take them up on their offer. I hope whomever “helps me to the car” has practiced carrying things on their head.

Anne Yenny

California PolitiChick Anne Yenny is the mother of four ranging in age from 24-18; three sons (oldest a 2nd LT in the Marine Corps) and a daughter. Both of her parents are from Scotland; she lived there for two years in the late 70s and has been back many times. She has first-hand experience with national healthcare and considers Americans for Obamacare at best dangerously naive. Anne voted for Carter in 1976 and says she has been "doing penance" ever since. When family members lament her conservative voting habits she simply replies, "it's amazing what 96 hours of labor teach you". Her husband of 26 years deserves the credit for the conversion from liberal to conservative--and best of all, he's never thrown the Carter vote up in her face.

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