Have supermarkets in your parts begun to ration plastic bags? They’re hard at it here. Even Walmart prominently displays colorful (plastic…) tote bags near the check-out stands — for sale, of course; most certainly not for free. Whole Foods has been doing that for years, as has Trader Joe’s — no surprise there, given those chains’ overall zeitgeist.
Many stores offer a choice of paper bags or plastic now — Whole Foods gives you none, of course: it’s paper or else buy one of those totebags. Or you could pile everything in a grocery basket, roll it out to your car, and pack it in a piece at a time. 😀
How do you feel about that? Political correctness aside, do you sense even the slightest…oh…resentment at this shift?
Oh yeah? Well…can you remember when, back in the Day, grocery stores abruptly made the switch from paper bags to the filmy plastic bags that infest our landfills, our front yards, our streams, our lakes, our skies, and our oceans? And do you remember how you felt about it then?
I sure do.
No choice was offered, during the Dark Ages. One day you went in, piled a week’s worth of loot into a grocery cart, arrived at the check-out stand, and…were presented with a grocery cart filled with limp plastic bags spilling out packages and cans and heads of lettuce.
And “spilling” was the operative term. When you were accustomed to a paper bag that could hold several days’ worth of food and cleaning goods, three wimpy plastic bags that together could barely hold the same amount were, shall we say, confounding. Where a paper bag would stand upright in the trunk of your car, these damn things would flop in there and disgorge their contents to roll around every time you turned a corner. When you got home, you had to gather all your purchases off the floor of the car trunk and pack them back into the wispy plastic bags before you could haul the groceries up the steps to your apartment.
Ohhhh GOD how I hated those plastic bags!
In those primitive times, makers of trash baskets turned out kitchen garbage cans designed to hold a paper grocery bag. You just dropped an empty bag into the trash basket — which fit under the kitchen sink (remember that?) — and when it was full, you browbeat your husband or a kid to take it out to the garbage bin. It was wonderful!
The accursed plastic bags, of course, did not fit into anything that even vaguely looked like a trash basket. About the best you could do was set a plastic bag on one side of the sink, use it to hold accruing debris as you cooked, then tie it off and toss it into the trash can, where it would sit there leaking and stinking until someone dragged it and a half-dozen other bags that collected with it in the old trash basket.
Note that I did not hate the bags for environmental reasons. In the Dark Ages, we didn’t get that kind of news. If we had any worries about the environment, they had to do with smog and nuclear fallout.What could a plastic bag have to do with those?
Unless plastic bags were manufactured in nuclear plants. Who knows? Maybe they were… They’re certainly radioactive now.
Switching back to paper bags, I must admit, elicits similar sentiments. Hallelujah, brothers and sisters: now we get to change the way we run our kitchens AGAIN! at the behest of faceless corporations and bureaucrats who know better than we do. Always.
After all these years, I’ve arrived at a détente with the accursed plastic bags. I have a lot of uses for them. Uses that paper bags cannot handle.
• Kitchen sink cabinets no longer have room to accommodate a trash can big enough to hold a paper bag. So the plastic trash can is gone. Instead, wet kitchen trash gets stashed in a plastic bag, which lives in the refrigerator until I’m ready to brave the alley.
• Taking the garbage out entails retrieving a key, dodging the dogs, passing through two gates and unpadlocking one of them, dodging the occasional bum, wrestling a huge four-household bin, relocking the gates, putting the padlock key back, letting the dogs back out…good fun. Sooo….being able to refrigerate the trash so I don’t have to traipse out there every day is a great convenience. Not one I’m looking forward to losing.
• Nor do I look forward to having to keep a paper bag full of garbage in an expensive covered garbage can in the garage. This means every piece of trash or garbage has to be traipsed out through the kitchen door into the garage, and the whole mess has to be kept tightly covered to keep the rats out. That, I could truly do without.
And speaking of our little room-mates, have you noticed many sewer roaches dancing around the kitchen floor since the advent of plastic bags? Miss the little fellows, do ya?
• Paper bags nurture cockroaches. The little gals and their boyfriends ride the freighters and airplanes and trucks hauling foods across our borders and into the grocery stores. When they find those nice, dark paper bags, they lay their eggs in them. You bring those eggs home with you when you bring home the bacon. Pack those bags away in the pantry closet or the garage, and the babes hatch out and join the buggy can-can line!
This is totally the main reason I do not want to go back to the future with paper bags.
Well. Except for the dog mounds.
• Nothing beats a plastic bag for picking up dog mounds.
How, seriously, do our Respected Betters think we’re going to clean up after the beasts?
Never fails, does it?