Seattle bans plastic grocery bags

Seattle bans plastic grocery bags

Plastic grocery bags can be a real scourge. They are made with petroleum, which we KIND OF need for other things (like transportation). Their creation involves tons of toxic chemical byproducts. They are so flimsy that you end up getting 20 of them per grocery trip, since just about everything has to be double-bagged.

They exemplify our "single use" culture, since you're lucky to get one more use out of them - at least half of them split before you can finish unpacking your groceries! They take up landfill space, recycle poorly, and have an unfortunate tendency to become airborne, flying into our trees, fences, and into our oceans, where they destroy marine life.

Considering all the down side to plastic grocery bags, it hardly seems that the minor bit of convenience they offer is really worth it! And clearly Seattle feels the same way, because its plastic grocery bag went into effect as of July 1st.
Plastic grocery bags will no longer be provided for customers at check-out. However, plastic bags are still available for produce and meat purchases. Paper bags are available for customers who forget their tote bags, but most stores are tacking on an extra five or 10 cent fee to cover their cost.

As you might expect, there is a lot of griping about this in Seattle. To which I can only say: grow up! It is not that big a deal. And after the first few times, you will certainly remember to bring your reusable totes. The only reason people forget to bring them is that they CAN forget. You don't forget to bring your wallet or your car keys into the grocery store, and soon you won't forget your tote bags, either.

I switched to reusable tote bags a few years ago when they started becoming easily available at stores. I am an adult living alone, and I estimate that by using totes, I save a whopping 400 plastic grocery bags every year! That is a surprising amount of positive ecological impact that I have, just by going the tiniest bit out of my way to use tote bags.
Better still, I actually came to prefer reusable totes to plastic grocery bags. What used to be 20 different bags can be packed into three or four reusable totes. It's so much easier to carry inside, less likely to lose items inside stray bags, and the sturdy handles mean that ruptured bags are a thing of the past.
A toast to the humble reusable tote bag! And congratulations on kicking the plastic bag crack habit, Seattle!