One of the first posts I wrote for Zero Waste Mommy was “No Reusable Grocery Bags in this Station Wagon.” I wanted readers to understand that I wasn’t perfect and that this was a dynamic experience. And true to that message, I’m still a long way from Zero Waste and things have changed quite a bit.
When I wrote the original post I had just begun my Zero Waste journey. I hadn’t yet watched those videos of the great garbage patches in our oceans. I wasn’t part of a larger Zero Waste community. And I had an inexhaustible supply of steamy diapers to deal with.
But now, my kids are older (less diaper waste, more public school waste), I’ve gotten a job, left a job, started grad school and with these changes and two years of blogging about Zero Waste, comes experience and knowledge.
I still use plastic bags that come my way to line my garbage bags, but somewhere along the way I stopped asking for bags at the grocery store and began to bring my own.
My goal now is zero store bag usage and yet, somehow, plastic bags still find their way into my life. A good friend, who has no intention of bringing reusable bags to the store, saves her plastic and paper bags for me. Sometimes they come via the mail, wrapped around a book or a present for my girls. A visit to a friend’s house almost always yields some excess backyard fruit, hand-me-down clothes for the littles or some leftovers from our dinner – all delivered in a plastic bag.
And I graciously take them all.
Who better to end up with plastic bags than Zero Waste Mommy?* The best part is when someone is about to give me a plastic bag and says, with a guilty look on their face, “I know Zero Waste Mommy wouldn’t approve but….” and I usually reply with a “Don’t worry! I’ll use it somehow.”
And I do. Probably with some of the aforementioned techniques. But the important thing is that I’ve grown enough to stop my own influx.
My station wagon is different now and I’ve even changed neighborhoods since starting Zero Waste Mommy and yet, while walking to the, yes, grocery store, I came across this:
Even in an immaculate and wealthy HOA-policed suburb, we have a reminder of the ugliness of plastic. And this station wagon is now well-armed.
*I know how to recycle them too. More on that in another post.