Sunday, April 14, 2024

Practically Living Green

Showing practical reasons to live green.


What Does a Plastic Bag Ban Mean to You?

In various states and cities across the United States, a plastic bag ban is in effect. In fact, there are a lot more cities here in Colorado that passed legislation that I didn’t realize. And from a consumer perspective, I say it’s about time!

And not because I’m some tree-hugging hippie. Mostly, it’s because I love to look at nature without trash disturbing the view.

Besides, humans waste a lot of plastic bags on a global scale. When humanity is long gone and alien life visits this wasteland of a planet in some 500 years, at least they’ll say, “Looks like they had a thriving economy.”

How a Plastic Bag Ban Impacts Your Life

In reality, a lot of issue comes up with banning plastic bags. But, how much of it is just because humans are resistant to change? When you think about it from a practical perspective, it only makes logical sense.

Mostly because a lot of people simply cannot handle recycling or even throwing them away in the trash. And it only takes a few to ruin it for the rest of us.

What can you expect from a plastic bag ban?

  1. Cleaner roads
  2. Less plastic floating down the river
  3. A cleaner kitchen after shopping
  4. Fewer bags in the trees
  5. Finding new cat litter disposal methods
  6. Not really a disadvantage over the long run
  7. A keen fashion sense and promoting your style

1. Cleaning Up Trash on the Roads

One of the things I hate most is seeing plastic bags lying on the road during one of my walks. What makes it worse is that, in many cases, a trash can is just a few feet away.

I can honestly say that I never let trash get away from me, even during a windstorm. I’ve been known to chase old receipts blown out of the car throughout a parking lot.

After being in a few cities with the plastic bag ban, you can easily see the difference along roadways.

2. Disgusting to See Plastic Bags on the Beach or in a River

What’s worse than stepping over bags while walking to the store? Sitting on a riverbank or on the beach and seeing a plastic mass floating next to you.

There have been times when I reeled in a fish only for the line to also collect a bag or some other clump of plastic pollution. Yeah, it gives you a weird feeling to realize you’re about to eat something you caught out of a trash pond.

You might as well fish at the sewage plant.

My point is that a plastic bag is the last thing I should see in any body of water. Unfortunately, it’s a sad truth that this scenario so common.

3. Less to Worry About After Shopping

When I lived in Westminster, we had a garbage can in the kitchen specifically for plastic bags. The idea was to take them to the recycling plant or drop them off in Walmart’s recycling box out front.

However, the bags never made it that far. And when you have cats, the garbage can of bags makes a tempting target. Needless to say, I’ve spent a great deal of time cleaning up after the mess.

My point is that bags often have a way of cluttering up a kitchen rather quickly. And I know, some people would point out, “just take the damn bags to recycle.”

In the real world, though, a lot of us simply forget.

4. No More Tree Decorations After a Wind Storm

I became anti-plastic-bag when I looked out my window to see the Walmart logo flapping in the wind as if it claimed my tree. It was a macabre reminder that trash reigns supreme, especially when the wind picks up.

All too often, while driving down the street, I’ll see a few trees spotted here and there dotted with white, cheap plastic. And now that I’ve pointed it out, I wonder how many of you will notice it as well?

The bottom line is that plastic bags are light, flimsy, and easy for the wind to catch. It’s realistic for a bag to move miles away from its last known location.

5. No More Cat Litter Disposal Bags

Personally, I use Walmart bags as a way to dispose of cat litter. It’s a pretty common practice, actually. But a plastic bag ban will eliminate that aspect of my life.

Yes, I’ve tried to train the cats using flushable litter, using the toilet, or some other natural composite. But the experience was less than ideal as I spent a large portion of my day cleaning up “accidents” throughout the house.

Besides, it’s hard to find a flushable litter that works as well or is as cheap as clay-based scoopable brands.

But, I will adapt. Because the benefits that come from banning plastic bags is far worth it for me.

6. Doesn’t Really Put You at a Disadvantage

In 2013, the Mayor of Denver said that a plastic bag ban would put Denver, “at a disadvantage.” And my response is, “how?”

Just buy a reusable bag and call it a day. Because you would have to remember to take your bag with you when shopping, or because of the $0.05 fee for using a paper alternative at the store?

It’s cheaper than having to pay the fee in Los Angeles. I’ll go into that in a moment.

In reality, there is no extreme disadvantage that would throw your world into disarray. And considering more than 130 million plastic bags are used in the metro area alone, a state-wide ban would save literally tons of plastic waste per year.

7. Getting Reusables that Match Your Personality and Style

Lastly, reusable bags can be added to your wardrobe for a sense of fashion. You can create customized canvas bags, support your favorite sports team, or have artistic designs to accentuate your personality in public.

In fact, I’ve come to collect bags from all kinds of stores. Usually, it’s those reusable, polyester, cheap bags at the grocery store. But, I do like a lot of canvas bags that are out there in the wild.

One of the things I plan on creating for my print-on-demand store is a line of reusable bags for shopping. That is once I have a channel that is popular enough.

There’s no sense in putting my logo on a bag on the off chance that one person might buy it.

How I Easily Lived in LA with a Plastic Bag Ban

So, I first lived with a plastic bag ban while living in Los Angeles for six months. I didn’t know there was one in place, so I was quite surprised when Trader Joe’s charged me $0.10 for a paper bag.

It didn’t take long before I bought a couple of polyester bags from Von’s, the LA equivalent of Safeway.

The rest of the time I was in LA, I didn’t think anything of grabbing my bags to go shopping. It becomes more of a habit that is part of your shopping routine.

Grab the wallet, grab your keys, grab your bags, and go.

Now that I’m home in Colorado, I often forget to grab my shopping bags. And I bet part of this is because it’s not mandated or is a law, as it is in California and New York.

Even the city of Boulder has passed a plastic bag ban…8 years ago! Yes, Boulder is more progressive than most of Colorado. But still, it’s a viable law that should be implemented simply because of the benefits as a whole.

No More Substandard Bags from Walmart!

I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t have to worry about substandard bags while shopping at Walmart. It seems no matter how hard I try, half of the grocery bags will form holes before I even get home.

When I empty cat boxes, I have to double and triple up the bags so the litter won’t leak.

I can circumvent this issue if I would remember to take my bags with me to the store. And after this article, I’m going to try harder to remember. Because there are plenty of benefits of using reusable bags.

It’s just a matter of remembering to take them into the damn store.

Are You Ready for Reusable Bags?

A plastic bag ban would drastically cut down much of the pollution on the road, in the water, and trash that is thrown away on a daily basis. The reason why legislation passes is because too many people abuse the privilege of plastic.

So before you get mad at your local government for passing those laws, think to yourself how often you waste bags? Or, who do you know that simply tosses them aside?

That is why most laws are passed…because humanity as a whole cannot be trusted. Especially when it comes to what we throw away.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.

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