Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Looking for Tips on How to Stop Using Plastic Bags

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Looking for Tips on How to Stop Using Plastic Bags

Article excerpt

Three weeks ago, I went to the pet store that is a couple of blocks from my apartment on Long Island. My purchase: One large bag of dry food, six cans of wet food (rabbit, buffalo and duck) and assorted "healthy" treats.

When she was done ringing up my purchase, the clerk asked, "Do you need a bag?"

I looked down at all the items on the counter.

Do I look like a juggler?

How else was I supposed to get these things to my car?

The clerk then informed me that she would have to charge me 5 cents per bag.

"It's the law now," she said.

Ah.

"That's fine," I told her.

I returned to to my house in New Jersey a few days later. Here, environmentally minded folks were wondering if the new governor, Phil Murphy, would take steps to eliminate plastic bags altogether from supermarkets, delis, gas stations and pet stores (among many other markets and retail outlets).

It's been four years since I purchased reusable grocery bags from my market in Wallington. To be honest, though, I'm not even sure where they are. (I didn't shun the bags intentionally. I just never got into the habit of using them.)

I feel bad about this, because I know plastic bags are clogging our oceans and causing all sorts of ecological mayhem. (According to one estimate, there will be more plastic bags than fish in ocean waters by 2050.)

Every so often, I see people packing their groceries into their reusable bags and I feel like a crook.

No. Worse.

I feel like an addict.

Back at my house, I have a large box of plastic trash bags on the shelf next to my refrigerator. And a box filled with plastic grocery bags in a nearby drawer. (I mostly use these bags for cleaning up after my dog.)

Every week, I drop off another load or two of laundry at my local wash-and-fold and then pick up my items the following day in very large, very plastic bags.

In my pantry and upstairs in my home office, I have boxes of plastic Ziploc bags. (I bought six huge boxes of them at Costco a couple of weeks ago.)

I use these sleek "locking" bags for cooked food. I used them for uncooked food, too. I also use them to store the toiletries I bring back and forth with me each week from my house to my apartment.

Wait, there's more. …

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