Posts Tagged ‘reusable bags’


This grandma was told she should be green.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

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California is leading the way, once again.  The City of Los Angeles is about to ban the plastic bag…

Maybe the greatest film of all time

San Jose, Long Beach, Berkeley, Malibu, and San Francisco have already banned plastic bags making plastic bag fees sound like an ancient practice (they’re pretty strict about the 5 cent fee here in D.C.).  Yes, plastic bags can be helpful on a grocery run, as a smaller garbage bag, and clean up your furry friend, but like so many things that we’ve done here in the U.S., plastic bags started showing up everywhere and then we made a mess.  They began to show up in our beaches affecting wildlife and in our streets affecting runoff flows.

Put that bag down birdman

In L.A., if you forget your reusable bag you have the option for a 10 cent paper bag, and that’s per bag.  The phrase “paper or plastic” will be a slogan for the history books.  Most groceries today even give you a discount for bringing your reusable bags.  Don’t forget to clean and wash your reusable bags too, I’ve heard they collect some interesting things after several uses.

And it never hurts to carry a sandwich, snacks, or your lunch in your hands without a bag at all.  When I don’t have lunch, I usually go to a nearby Au Bon Pain (somehow they have fifteen locations in a three block radius) and the cashier knows me there.  By habit she asks all the customers if they would like a bag and she asks me as well; now, she doesn’t even ask if I want a bag or corrects herself because she knows I don’t like/need a bag and that I’ll carry it in my hands.  In other trips for small items I find myself giving back a bag and saying “save a bag”.  I like never having to worry that a reusable bag is going to rip.  Sometimes I grab reusable bags from places I visit, such as my recent $1.99 purchase for a scenic Yosemite bag.  So, do you part and “save a bag”.  Cheers.

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…this is one of the best videos of all time.

If you don’t know now you know, today is Earth Day.  Here in Washington and across the East Coast it’s cold and rainy; my volunteer project to post “don’t litter” signs on storm drains at the National Mall for the National Park Service was cancelled and hopefully it will be rescheduled.  I really enjoyed this video and it touches on a subject that I’m passionate about, reusable products. Shockingly, there are people and businesses who do not recycle and many of the everyday items we use still end up in our nation’s rivers and lands which we all love for recreational use.  Every bag that you refuse from your local grocery store or every plastic bottle that you don’t buy at the gas station is something great that you’re doing to protect the local lake where you swim and fish, and it saves you a couple of dollars!  Reusable water bottles (this site has it all!), coffee mugs, and bags are really affordable now a days and almost all retailers sell them; so, go get yours today.  Back to my Frozen Planet (Discovery Channel) marathon. Cheers.

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