Rethink using those plastic bags


Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant

If you’re like me, going to the grocery store can be a practice in juggling when it’s time to check out.

In seconds, a relaxing trip to the store can turn frantic – reaching for my wallet, as I try to simultaneously enter my rewards number into the credit card reader and continue to place the groceries on the conveyer belt just as quickly as the cashier scans them.

And that’s if I don’t have my kids with me.

So when it comes time for the bagger to ask if plastic is OK, it’s almost an afterthought. A quick “yes” and that’s one more thing I can check off my checkout list.

However, almost immediately, my guilt sets in, knowing I should have insisted on paper.
I recycle at home, try to buy sustainable products and work on reducing my overall carbon footprint. In Seattle, where my sister lives, plastic bags at grocery stores aren’t even legal.

In that moment, however, standing in line on a busy Sunday afternoon, it can be so easy to let one, or 10, bags slide by, if nothing else so you can be that guy – you know, the one that wears every grocery bag on his arms like a badge of honor in an attempt to only make one trip from the car to kitchen.

I’m looking at you, husband.

Good news – if you prefer plastic at the checkout lane, SWACO and the city of Columbus have launched a new initiative to increase plastic bag recycling and reuse.

The program, called Bring Me Back, encourages residents to return their plastic bags to participating local retail locations and use reusable shopping bags when possible. The program also reminds residents not to put their plastic bags in curbside recycling containers since many recyclers don’t accept them.

So next time you’re offered the option of plastic or paper at the grocery store, and you choose plastic, keep this program in mind.

More than 100 retail locations throughout Franklin County are participating. You can find one near you by visiting and entering your zip code into the search field.

It’s estimated that 1 trillion bags world wide are used and discarded every year. Though most communities offer curbside or drop-off recycling services here in central Ohio, many don’t accept plastic bags – making this a much needed and worthwhile initiative.

Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer.


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