RM Allen, Author of New Hampshire Goddess Chronicles series
What a winter, even by New England standards! Relief melts into me, like Chapstick on dry and burning lips, now that the spring equinox has finally arrived. Yay! And that means that now the fun of April’s Earth Day is just around the corner!
So this Earth Day let’s talk about the filmy plastic bag that is everywhere like so many toilet paper shreds on the floor in a public restroom stall. What is a goddess who loves Mother Earth to do about this? Imagine Mother Earth comes out of the ladies room with toilet paper stuck to her strappy sandals. Awkward. Do you say something? Of course you do! Just like you can say “no thanks” to the drug store cashier who drops your single tube of toothpaste purchase into the bottom of a too-big-bag. Instead, you put the lonely toothpaste in your purse or pocket after you pay for it. (Tip: Clean out some junk from your purse and use the extra space to tote small goods from the cash register to your home.) REDUCE: Bag-free, that’s how a goddess rolls….
So say despite your best efforts you still have filmy bags lurking about your house, flitting and flying everywhere like the spooks in the Haunted Mansion. You forgot your cloth bags (dang!) and you lug home a week’s worth of groceries – which could fit in five bags but the baggers loosely packed them into about fifty. The static of fifty freshly unpacked bags on a kitchen floor creates a virtual haunting. Cats love it! Grab one of those ghouls and stuff the other forty-nine inside and bring the whole gaggle over to your neighborhood non-profit pantry or thrift shop to get a second and third chance at a useful life. (Tip: A plastic bag has a life span of hundreds of years, try to see that it is used many times before it goes to its final resting place in the landfill.) REUSE: Bags for non-profits, that’s how a goddess rolls….
Did you know….
- You can drive your car one mile on the energy it costs to make fourteen plastic bags from petroleum? What a waste of a fossil fuel.
- Recycling plants do not accept plastic bags: the $4K to recycle 1 ton of bags is not cost-effective (and they clog the machinery and have to be frequently cut off the jammed tires/gears). EPA states only 5% of bags get recycled. Recycling is basically a non-option.
- Plastic bags do not decompose for hundreds of years. All oceans now have trash gyres. Sunlight causes plastic to break into ever-smaller bits and get in digestive tracts of land and sea animals, which humans may then eat. That is food for thought! Watch the movie “Bag It” for details.
- Plastic bags were introduced in US by Mobil Oil in 1976. Banned in: Nantucket 1990, San Francisco 2007, California 2015. US ban totals: 132 cities and towns in 18 States. Pending legislation in many more. Banned in many places in EU/UK. The writing is on the wall.
So this Earth Day and beyond, I propose that all goddess-types shine a light on filmy one-time use plastic bags.
RETHINK: Tell the cashier/bagger… “Bag-free, that’s how I roll.”