Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Paper or Plastic or...

One of the first changes I made in order to live a greener life was to cut back on my use of plastic bags and containers. I mean, degrading plastic bags result in fish malnutrition*! Who wants an ocean full of malnourished fish, looking at us with big sad eyes, small tears rolling down their scales**. And what about the North Pacific gyre? While "gyre" super-cool, sci-fi style word***, it's a super-gross concept - a floating continent of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific Ocean. And what about the trees? Do you think the Giving Tree would have felt so giving if she had a bunch of plastic bags stuck between her branches?****

Produce was always a wrench in the reusable-bag system. Some items you can just toss in the cart without a bag - like an avocado. But it seems rude to make the kid at the check-out ring up 10 limes individually ... although since the kids at my neighborhood store aren't very friendly, maybe it would teach them a lesson about the value of hard work and customer service.

I tried reusing produce bags; I tried finding some net ones; I even thought about making my own, but my sewing skills haven't advanced to the "I-can-sew-net" level. Luckily, it's hip to be green, and I don't care if people are green poseurs or green hipsters or green rock stars, as long as green behavior results from the trends. Reusable bags are de rigeur these days, and green produce bags are becoming readily available.

I got mine at Kroger. When the check-out guy at Whole Foods (they are extremely friendly there, unlike at my other neighborhood store which shall not be named except I named it one sentence ago) asked where I got my cool net produce bags, he looked pretty chagrined to hear that it was at another grocery store.

If you can't find any at your grocery store, there are Etsy sellers who can also hook you up. Make the other hipsters jealous and get some today.

*How do fish get malnutrition? I'm glad you asked.
But I didn't ...
Shh... Let me tell you. The sun breaks down the plastic bags into little plastic crumbs. Fish - because, let's face it, their brains aren't huge - think that the pieces of plastic are food, so they eat them. Then their tummies become all full of plastic and they don't eat the nutritious sea vermin that they are supposed to. It's pretty much exactly what happened in The Lorax, only underwater.
** Except you can't see the tears, because fish are already underwater.
*** Can't you just hear The Doctor saying "Power up the TARDIS, we're headed for the Gyre!"
****The answer is: Probably. But the Giving Tree was a masochist.


Anonymous said...

Those are pretty cool! Never seen green produce bags before.

Have you seen the Trader Joe reusable bags? They are the perfect size with the perfect handles. I use them for everything now.

Kaimoana said...

Ooh, I need some of these. I am totally that annoying person that piles 5 loose mandarins on to the counter.

In other news, I picked up this green living magazine at the shops the other day:
There was some interesting stuff, but also some articles that I felt missed the point.
In any case, I thought you might be interested in browsing their website.

Catfish said...

Thanks friends, for the recommendations,and great to hear from you! @Kaimoana, I'm just picturing the oranges rolling all over the grocery counter and it's making me smile.

Christy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy said...

I need to get some of these ASAP!!! Great idea.

Anonymous said...

In parts of Vancouver, you can't get plastic bags. Everyone uses cloth.