Paper or Plastic or Infinity?

The modern dilemna.  I try to use cloth bags whenever I can, but things come up.  Here is a situation I encounter often:

I was at my local market very early in the morning.  Only one cashier.  As she is checking me out she asks, "Paper or Plastic?"  I say paper.  I make this choice because I live near the coast where plastic is very threatening to wildlife.

Now I nearly always do my shopping by using one of those little carry baskets instead of a grocery cart.  It keeps me to buying the essentials.  If I can't carry it I probably don't need it.  This means that on most occassions I have one to two bags worth of groceries max.  I aim for one.

Nearly every time I check out I have the same problem.  The cashier or bagger proceeds to put one item in each bag.  I say, "one bag is fine, please."  So then they look at me like I'm crazy, and take one bag and stick it in another.  As soon as they hand it to me I pull the second bag off.  "I only need one bag."

Sometimes they act really confused as to how to get ALL these groceries in one bag.  I end up showing them.  I have literally had them argue with me, insisting that I need double bagged groceries or the bags will tear.  I tell them I accept all risk of tearing thank you.

I have requested paper, only to have them place the paper bag inside of a plastic one.  I say one bag is fine.  But you need the handles they insist.  I say I don't.  I can carry a paper bag in the old fashioned way... in my arms.  As I pick the bag up and smile, they look quite dubious.  Apparently I've crossed a line of normalcy.

This morning it was me and the cashier.  She asks, "Paper or plastic?"  "Paper," I say.  As I am inputting my payment card information I see her place one paper bag inside of another.  I decide not to say anything, I will just pull the second bag off as usual.  She looks confused as to how to pack things.  I move over to assist.  At that moment, a bagger appears and literally shoves me away from the bagging area.  She tells the cashier, "I got it."  The cashier says, "You may need another bag."  The bagger grabs one.

I say, "No.  One bag is fine."  The bagger glares at me.  I am amazed at what is next.  It was a new one for me.  The bagger pulls out some little paper bags I have never seen before and places each item in a little bag before setting it in the double bagged larger one.

I am speechless.  So for my 13 dollars worth of groceries I end up with a total of NINE bags.  WTF?  I can't even protest.  I walk away from the store stunned.

From NBC news:

Here's how paper and plastic stack up side by side:
To make all the bags we use each year, it takes 14 million trees for paper and 12 million barrels of oil for plastic. The production of paper bags creates 70 percent more air pollution than plastic, but plastic bags create four times the solid waste — enough to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times. And they can last up to a thousand years.

Plastic, because it's cheaper to produce, is the overwhelming choice of grocery stores across the nation — the average family of four uses almost 1,500 of these a year.


MyFuZZyButtZ said...

I take my own bags to end the debate about whether paper or plastic is better. There's a wide selection on eBay, at mostly reasonable prices. I recently got 5 with Hello Kitty on them and love them!

Exocentrick said...

Yes, well if you read the FIRST sentence of my post I usually do the same. It is a good tip.

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