Social Question

filmfann's avatar

California jellies: How are you dealing with the plastic bag issue?

Asked by filmfann (44591points) December 17th, 2016

Do you bring your own?
Do you buy bags at the check out?
Do you forget to bring in bags, then just take all the items you bought to your car unbagged?
Are you uncomfortable with any of this?

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38 Answers

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

In Chicago we’ve had the bag ban for big stores for a while. Little stores are included January 1st.

Yes, I bring my own.
Yes, I buy bags at checkout if I forget or I need more space.
Yes, if I have 1 or 2 items, I just take all the items I bought to my car unbagged.

Also, on my commute I carry a bigger messenger bag if I plan to shop on the way home.

It’s nice not to have plastic bags stuck in my trees and clogging the storm sewers.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I don’t live in California, and we don’t have a legal ban in place, although one is coming, but stores started either charging for bags or refusing to give them out several years ago.

All grocery stores sell sturdy bags (woven plastic or cloth) for around $2. I have a few of those, which I bring whenever I go shopping. I don’t have a car, and it’s still not an inconvenience. You just have to train yourself to remember to do it, which… after forgetting once or twice is not that hard. I no longer have the overflowing “bag of bags” which used to be a source of guilt and annoyance, so that’s nice.

When I go to the corner store for an item or two, I often just carry them home in my hand. For example, in the evenings, you’ll see at least one person per block carrying a bottle of wine, for just this reason. Because this is a city-wide phenomenon, it does not look at all out of place. It’s really not difficult or strange at all, although I grouchily predicted that it would be before we started. I got over it pretty quickly.

Coloma's avatar

I will purchase 1 or 2 if needed and have some in my car. I re-use them as trash can liners and for scooping my cats litter box. Personally what I find funny is that the new bags are 5 times as thick and use at least 3–4 times the plastic to manufacture as the old ones but, supposedly the new ones are biodegradable to an extent as I understand it. What about all the other plastic bags on the market? T

rash liners, trash bags, baggies, on & on.

zenvelo's avatar

We haven’t had them in my town (Lafayette) for a few years, and I don’t miss them at all. I always chose paper over plastic anyway.

YARNLADY's avatar

I keep my bags in my car and take the basket out to fill them. I have stored plastic bags for home use for many years and won’t run out anytime soon.

Brian1946's avatar

Whole Foods stopped using them a few years ago, but I’ve always reused their paper bags, so no problem there.

So did Target, so I’ve been using canvas bags there ever since.

Restaurants still use plastic bags for their takeout containers, so I reuse those for receiving and transporting trash.

Occasionally I’ll find a stray plastic bag on my property, and if it’s in decent shape, I’ll use it for trash too.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m in NY and have lots of plastic bags. I use them as packing material when I send stuff to my son in LA.

Mariah's avatar

Can you get paper bags in CA?

The whole state of MA doesn’t have a plastic ban but my city does. We have reusable bags but we’ve forgotten to bring them a few times. We just use paper when we forget.

zenvelo's avatar

@Mariah California has a ban that went into effect after the November election was certified. It was passed by the legislature tow years ago na would have gone infect on January 1, 2015, but the plastic bad industry got an initiative on the ballot that stayed effectiveness until approved by the voters.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Mariah paper bags are available at checkstands usually at a charge of 10 cents a pop.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It seems more wasteful to buy new, freshly made plastic bags for trash rather than using the old ones. Here in NY most grocery stores have boxes for collecting and recycling the old, excess bags people tend to collect.

I have a stand next to my kitchen sink that always holds an old plastic bags I use for kitchen trash. When it is full I tie it off and toss it in my trash toter.

People here also use them for picking up dog poop.
What do Californians use for that purpose? Do they buy a new bag for every dog poop? That seems more wasteful and damaging to the environment than using something that is already made.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Dog poop is not a problem I have, but I feel that a tiny, poop-sized bag is less wasteful than a using a 2–3 gallon bag that must now remain in landfill forever instead of being recycled.

The shopping bag bans are one step toward being less wasteful with plastic. They’re not trying to solve every problem all at once. Dog-poop is lower on the priority list, but I’m betting we’ll find a better solution for that, too.

zenvelo's avatar

@LuckyGuy You can buy small compostable corn based “plastic” bags for dog poop.

And I put my kitchen trash into double paper bags that are compostable. My landfill trash (like plastic bags) goes into separate paper bag.

marinelife's avatar

The damage caused by plastic bags is worth the hassle. We have a collection of our own grocery bags, which we try to take everywhere. We hang them on the front doorknob after unloading to remind us to put them back in the car.

YARNLADY's avatar

For dog poop, I use whatever scrap of plastic or newspaper I can find. If I forget to bring anything, there is nearly always a candy wrapper or something laying on the ground when I need it. I have also used leaves.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

What do Californians use for that purpose? Do they buy a new bag for every dog poop? That seems more wasteful and damaging to the environment than using something that is already made.

No, the number of bags re-used for dog poop is a tiny fraction of the bags given away each day. Tiny fraction.

I would guess as a single person I was receiving 20 bags per week. Probably more, because grocery stores almost always double-bagged the flimsy bags.

Multiply 20 bags X 52 weeks X 2,800,000 Chicagoans =
Roughly 3 billion bags per year.

Our dogs are not pooping 3 billion times per year.

johnpowell's avatar

We have had the plastic ben in Eugene for years. I shop a few times a week on foot since I don’t drive and the store is three blocks away. Usually I can fit everything in my backpack. And if it doesn’t fit I just pay the 5 cents for paper bags.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

We don’t have a ban here in Florida. The EPA promised to outlaw plastic retail bags years ago but, well, you know…..it’s the EPA. I do shop at Aldi sometimes and when I was in a different state there was a supermarket there that did not provide bags. I keep about 10 paper grocery bags in the way back of my car. So after I pay for the groceries I just go to the car, open the back and bag the groceries. It’s only about 10 steps from the car to my kitchen when I get home so the bags last and last. It’s just not a big problem. I hate the plastic grocery bags; your stuff ends up all over the car and they break too often. I like paper. Period.

LuckyGuy's avatar

For those of you who don’t have plastic What do you use for your garbage. Do you buy plastic trash bags to line your cans? I do but my new bag usage is greatly reduced since my “stinky” garbage gets tied up in a used grocery bag and goes directly in the toter.
If bpeople brought the

I would guess as a single person I was receiving 20 bags per week. Probably more, because grocery stores almost always double-bagged the flimsy bags.

Did you bring the 20 bags per week to the store for recycling or did you put them in your recycle bin? Howe many did you use for other purposes? 1 or 2 per week?

I am going to weigh a few bags to understand the mass relations ship between grocery bag and trash bags.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ok , Here’s my data Because, as we all know, without data all we have is an opinion.

(Measured to nearest 0.1 gram.)

Plastic bag from grocery store = 5.8 g (average of 3 bags)
13 gallon trash can liner = 22.5 g
30 gallon trash can liner = 39.6 g
55 gallon trash can liner = 142.2 g (contractor grade)

I figure I would have to buy more of the larger bags if I did not get the “free” bags at the grocery store. i recycle most of the bags I don’t need. I do throw away some that somehow get messy, e.g. leaking milk, squashed blueberries, etc. I don’t want to waste water by washing out a cheap plastic bag.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I lived in excruciatingly boring Napa for about a year.

During my time there I happily paid the dime per bag fee in order to prevent the state from manipulating my behavior.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@LuckyGuy “For those of you who don’t have plastic What do you use for your garbage. Do you buy plastic trash bags to line your cans? ”

I buy garbage bags (only for the kitchen; I don’t line any other bins in the house). I have done this for many years longer than there has been a shopping bag ban in place, because shopping bags invariably have holes in the bottom and are not suitable for wet garbage. You describe “some that get messy”... in my experience, that is most grocery bags. They are not good for holding liquids.

These practices will change again in a couple of months, when city-wide compost pickups will go into effect. Presumably, these will require special, compostable bags, so there will be even less use for plastic trash bags. I’m really looking forward to it.

JLeslie's avatar

We don’t have a ban in my state, but I have 5 insulated bags I bring to the supermarket. I use all insulated so the person bagging groceries doesn’t have to worry about which bag to put the frozen stuff in.

Once in a while I forget my bags or purposely ask for something in plastic bags to have a small stash of bags for my smaller trash cans that are in the bathrooms. I only use about one a week, so one regular shipping trip takes care of that for over a month.

My mom gave me a bag made of really thin material that rolls up and fits easily into an average size purse. It’s about 1.5 inches by 3 inches rolled up. You could keep something like that in your glove compartment too.

From what you posted it sounds like you can buy plastic bags still from the cashier, is that right? The bags are available, but now you just have to pay?

I actually also really like having a plastic bin in my trunk. One that has easy grips on the sides. Your groceries won’t roll all over the trunk when driving and coke bottles won’t fall on top of bread or tomatoes easily. You can keep two or three stacked empty in your trunk. They’re handy for lots of things. You can put groceries in them bagged or not bagged. They’re easy to soap up and rinse off. I used to have two in my trunk, but my husband stole them over time. I also could carry in more at once from the car with those bins.

Coloma's avatar

What about the gazillions of produce bags in the stores too?
@JLeslie Yes, you still buy the bags, which are now heavy duty plastic for 10 cents ea.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Interesting. Why did they make them heavier duty? Are they better for reusing as trash bags then? Or, is the hope that they’ll be used again for groceries?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Ok , Here’s my data…I figure I would have to buy more of the larger bags

You just listed the weights of some bags. You didn’t include any numbers of actual bags used, purchased, etc. “I figure” is not data.

And even with that, one person’s experience isn’t meaningful when you are talking about a city- or state-wide program.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

is the hope that they’ll be used again for groceries

Yes, the 10 cent bags are heavier and thus re-usable, and (the ones I know) are larger, like a full-sized grocery bag.

Even used once they replace six or eight doubled-up flimsy bags.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The Big Island of Hawaii banned all plastic shopping bags several years ago. It took about a week to get used to reaching in the trunk and taking out my cloth shopping bags.

I now live on Oahu, where plastic shopping bags are banned at grocery stores. They are available at other stores. The grocery stores give away paper bags. I’m used to carrying in my own cloth ones, so that’s what I do. Because it’s not a blanket ban, I still see the bags as rubbish blowing around the streets. It is disheartening.

JLeslie's avatar

Where I live now they have us put our recyclables in clear plastic bags. That annoys me. I have to buy clear plastic trash bags. I hope they are actually recycling the bag itself. I’d much rather put my recylables in a plastic container. That’s used over and over again for years.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie yes, from what I have been told by the clerks in the grocery store the new bags are designed to be re-used and also somewhat more biodegradable than the old ones. Personally I don’t like them. They are bulky and don’t work as well as trash liners. They are stiff and hard to tie off.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma I think it’s a good idea. They just need to tweak the bags maybe?

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah, I’m all for environmental aide but it still seems sort of counter productive to make the new bags with 5 times the plastic of the old. haha

YARNLADY's avatar

I can buy a box of 1,000 of the old fashion plastic bags at Sam;s club for $12.00

tranquilsea's avatar

We don’t have a total ban nor even a little ban on plastic bags sadly. But I don’t like accumulating so many plastic bags. Years ago now I bought reusable ones. I have a pretty good routine down now where I collect them by the door and when there is a critical mass of them they get taken out to my car and put in the trunk.

I have been trying to cut down on the amount of plastic we use period. I’m going to go back to plain old bar soap from the body wash. I’m going to look around and see if I can find bar shampoo and conditioner too. That is the bulk of the plastic we have in the house.

I do need to get a light foldable bag to put in my purse for those times I buy things when I haven’t gone out explicitly to buy something.

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: You pick up dog poop with a candy wrapper?

@tranquilsea: Good point about liquid soap. So many people carelessly throw plastic bottles like liquid soap comes in into the garbage instead of recycling. Another container that gets thrown away a lot are the black round ones with clear tops that hot take out food often comes in now. I try to take mine home and re-use but I see a lot of people just throwing them in the garbage (maybe some of the time it’s because they don’t want to clean out the leftover food).

Someone asked on here once something like “what amazes you.” I responded about all of the plastic that is everywhere. Everything from cubicles at work, building materials, containers, computers and other electronics, you name it.

I was just googling and found that San Francisco was the first city to ban plastic bags.

Here’s an interesting article from a recent New Yorker about plastic bag use in the USA:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/02/saving-america-from-plastic-bags

zenvelo's avatar

Michigan just passed a law to ban banning plastic bags,

Coloma's avatar

I wish they’d pass a law banning the release of dozens if not hundreds of damn balloons at events like funerals, etc. Thousands of damn balloons out there dropping into the ocean and all over the place.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jca Whatever I find laying around in the street, if it’s big enough.

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