Let’s see, I’ve figured out how to keep the doors barred to the invading forces, learned how to make them work for every inch of cupboard space they have already claimed… now to send them back from whence they came…. Right? It should be easy to recycle grocery bags these days, every chic ad on tv is screaming the need to stay away from these plastic demons. Bags running upwards of $150 American are being seen on the catwalks of the rich and trendy, all emblazoned with the thought “I am not a plastic bag”. A simple matter to recycle them…. Not.
My first call to a local grocery store:
“Excuse me, but do you have a recycle center in your store somewhere for me to put some of these grocery bags?”
Dead silence, followed by a confused “Um… no? We don’t do that here.”
“Ah. Thank you”
Hmmm. Maybe I should have tried a chain grocery. It might be too much to expect a mom and pop place to be on the cutting edge. So the second store was a large chain in northern Ohio, one far more able to keep up the changing trends. Well, I thought so anyway. Turns out I was wrong. They are ‘weighing the merit of the idea’ and would be ‘happy to bring it up in a meeting’ but management speak aside…. I was striking out.
Third store, this time I made sure to call a major chain with great claims to its “green” standards. I also decided on a different tactic, no more asking… I was just going to go with the assumption that of course they did this.
“Hello, I’m wanting to recycle my grocery bags and I was wondering where your bins were?”
At least this time I received a partial affirmative, but was informed that A) the bags will be recycled into one time use products that aren’t able to be recycled again, B) they will only except bags from their own stores, none from a competitors – and as they are a mega-store that sells just about everything, EVERYONE is a competitor. And my personal favorite C) Due to the fact people are generally untrustworthy children who will put anything and everything in a standing box, they have been forced to remove the public dropoff boxes and replace them with dummies. But if I would like to make an appointment……..
Ahhhh…. No? I’m sorry. My personal love of the absurd aside, I am not making an appointment to throw away bags. Granted, there is an evil little part of my soul that wanted to make the appointment, call six times to confirm and “just check the time”, show up and loudly demand to see the manager as I have an appointment over a very important matter…. And hand them one lone grocery bag. From another store. Possible used first as a receptacle for the cat box. I may look like an adult, but I have to work at it harder on it some days then others.
So, long and short of the whole Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Recycle where you can, but the far more important and useful steps are:
A) Just stop bringing home so much crap in the first place. Bring a bag, a box, a small pack toting mule named Mr. Snuggles; whatever you need to replace plastic grocery bags.
B) Reuse what you have. Whether its simply to refill them with groceries, carry your lunch, or to attempt a craft project worthy of Dame Stewart… use and reuse items until they are past the point of usefulness.
C) Only then attempt to climb Mt. Recycle with a hopefully hole filled and incredibly tatty piece of repeatedly reused plastic.
* I really wish I could help myself. I’ve punned and I can’t get up!