RIP Plastic Grocery Bags

I know this sounds like I am putting myself in front of the environment, but I wasn’t overly excited by the statewide ban on single-use plastic bags that went into effect on Friday. The ban means that in the state of Washington, businesses can no longer offer the plastic grocery bags that most of us have grown up with our entire lives.

Judging by the expressions of Sloan and Beau on the first day of the ban, they weren’t overly excited about it either.

My less than enthusiastic attitude isn’t because I am having a personal crisis figuring out how I will now carry my groceries out of the supermarket. Rather, I am bummed because I will no longer be able to use them for the myriad of miscellaneous ways I employ them once I bring them home.

Basically, I have placed a major overreliance on plastic grocery bags for the following reasons…

To carry my lunch to work
To hold an extra change of clothes
To pack my toiletries during travel
To dispose of Beau’s diapers
For use as mini trash bags

I bought eight bags on Friday. After I purchased them, the Walmart clerk placed them on the rack for us to use.

A couple of these uses really irk Sidney. She finds them tacky, which is likely why she wasn’t impressed by the situation that took place this past Friday. Let me explain…

The ban is meant to encourage people to use their own personal tote bags for their groceries. If you don’t want to make that investment, grocery stores now offer reusable plastic bags for 8 cents. These new bags are thicker and use recyclable material in their production.

On the first day of the ban (Friday, October 1), we went to Walmart after work to pick up a few groceries. We made it to the front of the self-checkout line we were in. While Sid scanned our items, I flagged down the bag lady who was going from self-checkout line to self-checkout line selling the bags.

“I will take 8, please,” I told the lady.

“Yes, sir,” the lady replied as she counted out the bags and typed in the code at our register to apply the charge.

I took a photo of our checkout screen after the Walmart clerk typed in the transaction.

“Why did you buy 8 bags?” asked Sid, indicating that only a couple bags were needed for the amount of groceries that we purchased.

“We need them for Beau’s diapers this weekend,” I replied.

“They make bags specifically for that purpose,” Sid responded, annoyed. “Perhaps this is the kick we need to start buying them.”

So perhaps we will. But let me go on record by saying that the new reusable grocery bags are heavy duty and I consider the 8-cent price a bargain. However, I do realize that isn’t the point of the ban.

The new bags are heavy duty, and, in my opinion, worth the 8 cents. But I know that’s not the point.

It will be interesting to see how this ban is embraced statewide. I wonder where our family will stand a year from now. Will we be bringing our own tote bags into Safeway? Or will we be hanging onto the original eight bags we bought at the end of last week (assuming I didn’t use them for diaper disposal)? Whatever the outcome, I just hope grocery store bagger clerks still have a job. Don’t Blink.

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