My Latest Daily Challenge: Avoiding The Plastic Bag

4_2c_plastic.jpgI think my way of life here is much more environmentally correct than my life in the US. Or maybe in fact my habits are now similar wherever I am; I don’t drive a car here and I don’t think I will when I return home. I’ve learned how to buy pretty much only exactly as much as I need so only a minimum goes to waste. I’ve also learned how to eat the same thing two days in a row, even if I’m less than enthusiastic about it, to avoid throwing out leftovers.

I think it’s common knowledge that the way of life in many countries is much more environmentally friendly than in my home country.

Sometimes though this seems to be more out of simple habit or necessity than a conscious decision. I’m currently reminded of this regularly by a somewhat comical routine I go through with the cashiers at the corner store: nearly every day I whip out my reusable bag while waiting in line and start trying to convince the cashier not to give me a plastic one. If she ignores my request, I’m not above smiling and taking the things out of the plastic bag and putting them in my own bag. I like to say “My apartment is full of plastic bags,” in a joking way in the local language; perhaps I should also learn “and I’m going to suffocate because of that so please, save the bag for someone else who will throw it in the river when they are done.”

At the supermarket, if I’m buying, say, one avocado, why not just put the sticker on the vegetable itself? Sometimes I get a sympathetic produce weigher who will comply with my apparently odd request.

I suppose as environmentally damaging items go, plastic bags are not really all that bad, especially if I deal with them responsibly and reuse or recycle them. But I have to say it makes me laugh just how hard I have to work to avoid them.