monthly habit: plastic bags

IMG_2376.jpgIn an effort to make our lives a little bit better, I am dragging Mike along the adventure of taking on a new habit each month. This is not a new concept by any means. Many have taken on the monthly habit challenge. It’s said that if you do anything for 30 (or maybe it’s 66??) days in a row that you will end up with a new habit in your life. Whether it’s 30, 66, or 365 days, we’re doing it by the comfortable unit of a month here. Every month we’re going to set out on a new project to change a little something for the better in our lives. And it’s not even Lent yet! Can I get an *amen* from my fellow catholics?!

This month we’re taking on a project that may just make the world a better place as well as our lives. Our very first habit for the month of August and beyond is all about bags. Plastic ones. You know the ones. Crinkly, invasive, tearable (or is it ‘terrible’? heh.) We have a million (exaggeration) of those re-useable canvas bags that are handed out at seemingly every event these days, and yet we still end up bringing home the ubiquitous plastic bag from the store each time we make a trip. (Other than our visits to Aldi where they make you pay for bags. Trendsetters!) We do end up re-using a handful of plastic bags for lunches, trashcan liners, puppy waste disposal, etc., but the vast majority get thrown away or stuffed into a closet where they languish and take up space for months or perhaps more realistically, years.

What’s so bad about these plastic bags? I think we all know that plastic bags are no bueno for the environment. Not only do they not break down in landfills, but they’re nearly impossible to recycle and they release harmful chemicals over time. The damage to wildlife is widespread, as is the negative impact to human life. Every square mile of ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it, meaning that over a million sea creatures (birds, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, etc.) die from plastic debris per year. Some cities such as San Francisco, Austin and Seattle have already banned their use. But for those of us in less progressive locales, it’s up to us as individuals to make up our minds to change our habits. This is us doing just that.

We’re not plastic guzzlers in our house. We refuse bottles of water in favor of our Nalgenes. We recycle everything we can. We use re-useable mason jars for nearly everything in the kitchen instead of single-use sandwich baggies. But we’re not as good as we could be. The occasional plastic bag seems unavoidable. But is it? Well, we’re on a mission to find out this month.

So, what’s the plan? We already have bunches of canvas bags to use for our grocery runs. I did order these re-useable produce bags for our trips to the local fruit market to hopefully eliminate those pesky plastic produce bags from our fridge. We also picked up a couple of snazzy new matching lunch boxes to replace our plastic bag habit on that front. Snacks will be put into jars instead of baggies. Canvas bags will be kept next to the door to be grabbed on our way to the store. A few will be kept in the car for unexpected trips. I’m sure there will be more things that will come up along the way that we’ll have to figure out, but that’s part of the fun!

Should you want to read more on the topic of plastics: 

What’s so bad about plastic bags?

Six Reasons Why

Land Mess & Water Hazard 

Trash Jar 

On Human Health

Snack Storage Ideas

What do you think? Are we crazy? Or are plastics plaguing your mind too? Helpful tips heartily encouraged!!

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