Grocery Bags: Paper or Plastic?


A photo of Vickie MorganI was composting corn husks this last week when I realized that I had been putting a lot of green in my compost and no brown. To compost you need 1 part nitrogen which is the brown (this includes pine cones, leaves, and weeds) to 15 to 30 parts carbon which is the green (this includes vegetable peelings, but no meat or grease). Well, we don’t have a pine tree, and thank goodness the leaves are still on the trees. It was then I remembered you could use newspapers. So I shredded up some of my newspapers and got the compost going again.

Then someone told me I could have used the paper bags I get out of the store for the brown in my compost. Well, I realized I didn’t have any paper bags, I always get plastic.

There are three different stores we frequent, depending, of course, on which offers the best deals on groceries that week. There is the store we go to once a month that you bag your own and you get a good deal. When we go there, I make sure I bring my recyclable bags.

Reusable bags ready to go to the store with Vickie

The best store we go to I think is the one who just changed to bags that are 100 percent biodegradable. The cashier was a little worried the first time I got them and said they could biodegrade as I went to the car. It didn’t quite happen, but I felt good about it anyway.

Now the other they just stick your groceries in a plastic bag and you’re done. That’s the store we are going to this morning.

10/5/2009 11:40:30 AM

Dave, Yes, your right me and my Mom was just talking about milk and pop coming in glass --seemed to taste better. We also talked about how we burned our trash in the backyard. Not a good idea now the fire truck might come by and then you will be fined. I do compost that does get rid of a lot of kitchen scraps and thankfully our city has curbside recycling -not a lot of cities do. But then I came home today to receive a book I had ordered very small book enclosed in too big a box wrapped in too much plastic then tied with plastic tape around it. So wasteful. It's really tough but we got to try and do what we can. thanks for your insight vickie

Nebraska Dave
10/5/2009 9:38:46 AM

Vickie, I can still remember the first time I heard the phrase “Paper or plastic”. My response was, “I’m paying with cash.” The quizzical look on the cashier’s face was classic. In my mind I thought she was asking if I was paying with paper cash or plastic credit. I’m a little slow at times. I’m kind of set in my ways and haven’t really given thought to the green thing but I’m hearing more about it and it makes a lot of sense to go more with the biodegradable. I’m not sure about how that will work for me as I too would never be able to remember to put the bags in the car. The best I do right now is to visit Sam’s club which gives you no option other than back in the shopping cart. So all I have to do then is chuck the stuff in the back of my truck and drive away. If I’m lucky I might find an old diaper box by the cash register to hold the booty until I get home but most of the time it just rattles around in the back of my truck. As I reflect back on childhood days, the milk came in returnable glass bottles; same for the soda pop; and the infamous burn barrel resided in every back yard and burned all the paper. It seems that burning is quite out of fashion especially in the city where I live. We hardly had any trash to set out by the curb. It truly is amazing how much trash is generated in a single day just in my town. Huge land fills have trucks lined up to dump on a daily basis. Fast food, and I include 90% of the frozen section of the grocery store, is the biggest culprit of trash. Plastic is nothing more than petroleum consumption but it is so integrated into our American way of life. Practically everything we buy is packaged in that wretched plastic container that can only be opened by much cursing and gnashing of teeth. Good blog, Vickie, that makes me think more on a global view.

10/4/2009 6:27:23 PM

Cindy, I'm having trouble remembering to put my bags back in my car too It takes time to change old ways- I guess in order to do our part we just have to keep trying. I Like your suggestion about old plastic bags in the car - I heard about that floating trash and I'm going to look at your link now. Some very good information. thanks vickie

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