Plastic Bags are slowly disappearing around me.
October 26, 2019
One of the benefits of my new hobby, is that single use plastic bags are slowly disappearing around me! I am not a purist by any measure. I spend about anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour a day either thinking about the environment or plastic picking. It is possible to do beach clean-ups zero-waste with gardening gloves and large plastic buckets. Maybe at some point I will get there. But right now I need to make it easy and part of my day. I also need to make sure I don’t get sick from picking up these items.
California has long since banned single use plastic bags, but there are plenty of sturdier plastic bags which are essentially like our old single use plastic bags. Even these the Plastic Picker Family tries to avoid. Usually it’s Mr. Plastic Picker’s parents who bring them home from the Asian markets. We all have reusable bags stashed in our cars and in the kitchen, and for the most part we are pretty good about using these anytime we shop. About 30% of the time, we also use reusable produce bags. The stray plastic bag makes it way into our house, and like most families we had several stashes in the kitchen and bathrooms where we used them for garbage liners. I would sometimes try to decompress those areas and drop them off at the plastic bag recycling maybe once a month. But honestly, who knows if they actually get recycled? Mr. Plastic Picker has always been skeptical. But this is what we have been doing for the last decade.
Something magical happened when I became Drplasticpicker. Our plastic bag stash slowly started shrinking, and I no longer need to even think about recycling plastic bags. The bread bags, the cereal bags, the large chip/snack bags, the thicker plastic film that wraps our bulk toilet paper, the endless medical magazines that keep on flowing into the clinic all come in plastic bags. Even the bags that the lettuce comes in is plastic from Costco. These have all started becoming part of drplasticpicker’s tools. Certainly we try to buy at the farmers markets and avoid bringing more plastic into our house, but its been magical to see those plastic bags that may or may not have been recycled and certainly the chip bags that would have been thrown away now are reused one last time.
The reason why is that thus far I have picked up at least 60 bags of ocean bound trash. I use 3 plastic bags on each cleaning mission. One sturdier bag to hold the trash, one bag for salvagables, and one as my “glove.” So with at least 3 bags a trip, I have needed at least 120 “bags.” I will try to reuse them when I can but honestly they get pretty dirty. The little bag I need as my one “glove” has been particularly interesting. I’ll use old ziplock sandwhich bags, small bread bags, the actual plastic gloves that come in my home hair dyeing kit that have been rinsed and reused (remember drplasticpicker is middle aged and not a purist and I started going grey early).
Again I know that zero-waste cleaning is possible, but for me now this is a first step. Around me, my friends’ offices are less cluttered, and the lunchroom has any a few stray bags. When I see these bags that would otherwise be thrown away, I ask my friends for them so it can aid me in this interesting journey. And for the plastic garbage bags that we use in our house, we tend to now try to use as few bags as possible as liners and decant the garbage in one large bag instead. I have also discovered that Hefty and Seventh Generation sell garbage bags made from recycled plastic, and have been purchasing some of those as well. Stay tuned for upcoming drplasticpicker reusable tote bags made from recycled plastic!