Bravo if you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to reduce the amount of plastic in your life. Now that I’m in YearTwo of Living Plastic Free I thought I’d share EnviroWoman’s Top 10 ways to reduce plastic, based on a year’s worth of experience. So here’s Tip#1…

Bring your own bag.

When shopping (not just grocery shopping, but for any shopping) take along your own packing bag.

Just make sure it’s made of cotton, canvas or a natural fiber (like these cheeky ones from BringYourOwnBag). A bag made out of nylon (which is plastic) or recycled plastic is still plastic, so in a way, you’re kinda defeating your good intentions.

And if you’re shopping for a big family – bring a box instead of a bag. Hey if it’s okay at Costco, why isn’t it okay for Safeway and IGA?

When grocery shopping EnviroWoman takes her handy wire basket along and uses it to pack her groceries in and out of the store. I LOVE my wire basket. I’m the only person in the supermarket who has one…so it makes me feel like an UberEnviroTrendSetter. (Dillusionary, aren’t I?)

She also uses a big canvas bag from Ellis Designs (no plastic handles, or buttons, but alas, a plastic inside pocket zipper), which does double duty as a purse for regular shopping.

There are lots of options to choose from nowadays. Just google ‘cloth shopping bag’ or ‘reusable shopping bag’. Or, attend a local craft sale.

And now it’s time for an EnviroWomanRANT
You may have noticed it’s becoming more ‘fashionable’ to bring your own bag. And that’s a great thing.

Big chain stores like Ikea, and SuperStore are even charging for bags or not even offering them, or at least selling a reusable alternative (alas, many of which are nylon-plastic). All good things.

But at the same time, it bugs EnviroWoman. Here’s why…

People think that if they bring their own bag they are doing their part to save the planet. They pat themselves on the back for being ‘green’.

But then they walk into the supermarket and fill their shopping carts with plastic packaged food, buy plastic wrapped coconuts (SpockIllogical), put fruits and veggies in plastic bags, buy bottled water, opt for stuff in a plastic bottles versus glass because ‘it’s so much more convenient and safe’ (maybe for them, but not for Mother Earth, which in the long means it’s not for them either). And so on, and so on.

Where is the ‘green’ action in that?

They do not see the irony.

Now, EnviroWoman ain’t no eco-Saint. She admits she didn’t see the irony in this either before taking the NoNewPlasticPledge.

But now EnviroWoman does.
And if you stand really close to her in the checkout line, looking at all those plastic filled shopping carts….you can hear her screaming inside. There is no hope. We humans are a lost cause. The planet is on a FastTrackToDisaster.

Sorry if I burst your EcoBubble here. But let’s face it, Tip #1 is not enough.

Bringing your own shopping bag is only a wee baby step on the path that takes you to ‘living green’. Truth is….you still have a long, long, long way to go. Lots more behaviours to change. Scary. Sad. But necessary.

Now, don’t go give up. Instead, cheer up. ‘Cuz chicky-poos you’re in good company. EnviroWoman still has a long, long way to go too.

Tip #1 may be a baby step, but it’s still a baby step worth taking.

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