Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

A couple of months ago I bought at Target a little shopping bag that folds up and fits in one's purse. My husband had been using canvas bags and a large cooler bag to shop for groceries for some time, but I kept finding myself at a CVS or Target buying shampoo or something and having to either shove the item in my purse, carry it out to the car in my hand, or take a plastic bag.

For a little while I would forget I had it until the clerk had already bagged my item. Or I wouldn't say, "I don't need a bag," fast enough or loud enough. Sometimes I would forget to unpack it after buying, say craft supplies, and so wouldn't have it on the next shopping trip. But over time I've used it more and more.

We reused our plastic bags as much as we could already. Using them to line small trash cans, pick up after the dog, etc. But that only postpones their deposit in a land-fill. It's not like I was rinsing them out. Likewise at my job (which does not recycle) I use both sides of paper when it doesn't need to be fancy, but that only postpones, doesn't eliminate. My husband's office does shred and recycle--thank God.

At home we bag magazines, newspapers, catalogs, envelopes. Rinse out cans and boxes. The standard stuff. I have friends who have been sorting trash into 12 pails since the 60's or 70's depending on their age. Who've had a brick in their toilet and EnergyStar appliances as soon as they became available. They would think we don't do enough.

For instance, like parents debating cloth or disposable, the better option would be to use paper towels after my dog, but I buy sandwich bags or use plastic grocery bags because it's "icky." I recently bought a slightly larger trash can for my bathroom that won't take the plastic bags. I'm using large trash bags for the moment because our town just went to "special" garbage bags so these are useless, but when these run out, will I buy special sized ones or clean out my trash can each week?

Or the Christmas Tree. Any environmentalist would tell you what a waste that is. That a tree should be left alive in the woods, that the land used to grow Christmas Trees should be used for something useful and sustainable.

But I love real Christmas Trees...

Which is the same lame excuse that someone could use to justify their need for an SUV or cigarettes or any other thing that I consider beyond the pale. That we love it or it is more convenient.

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