Sunday, September 14, 2008

People have become very systematic these days!

And when they go to buy grocery, they very carefully put each cucumber in a clear plastic bag, bananas in another such clear plastic bag, Jalapenos in clear plastic bag, each cantaloupe in the clear plastic bag, and then they pack all these individual plastic bags in the grocery bags. Since these bags get heavy they request another plastic bag from the bagger.  The shopping cart looks mostly like the ones below.  It's difficult to realize if they are buying grocery or grocery bags.

At home they throw the big grocery bags in trash, and put all these vegetables in refrigerator. Every time they take out some of these vegetables they throw the clear plastic bags in trash. Many times the vegetables packed in these bags do not get enough air and get bad in those plastic bags and they are thrown in the trash. 

Using huge amount of plastic is already normal in our life cycle these days, and we exacerbate the problem by adding more and more plastic. If you have no idea how these plastic bags are made, they are made up of "petroleum."

I do not understnad how is it convenient to pack bananas in plastic bag and then remove the pack once you reach home? How is ot convenient to pack cucumbers, Cantaloupes, and already packed vegetables and unpack them again? I can understand using those packs for Okra, beans, some leafy vegetables and that's it. You anyways have to (should) take out these things before you keep them in refrigerator. In Walmart today, I saw a lady packing a Bleach bottle in two plastic bags.  I do not understand how come people get so engrossed in a habit that they confuse convenience and habit and intermingle it with stupidity.

Some people say they recycle the plastic bags. Either they lie or they are among 1% of the people who recycle the plastic bags.  Some "supposedly" use them as trash bags. As per my experience, only few of the trash cans are of the size of the grocery bag. Also, these bags mostly get teared up by the time they reach home, making them useless as trash bags.  As per the small clear plastic bags are concerned, they are not worth for second use for anything.

There are some people who bring reusable grocery bags, however I have "never ever" seen any immigrant (Indian, Chinese, Mexican, other Asians, South American etc.) family using reusable grocery bags.  Being an Indian, I mostly go to Indian grocery store and I have never ever seen any other person using these kind of bags (I know some of my Indian friends use that though).  It is surprising to see Indians detached with environmental issues, because statistically they are the most educated ethnic groups in US. Perhaps, education and sanity doesn't always go together.

I would also like to see stores providing some incentives of using grocery bags. Safeway gives you a 3 cent incentive (ridiculous) every time you use your own bag. Trader Joe lets you enter into a weekly raffle.  I sometimes request discount from some stores for bringing grocery bags.  Sometimes they do give the discount.  In next few days I will write feedbacks to most stores to provide incentive for people who use reusable bags, and will post them here.

This post was mostly a rant although I didn't want it to be. In the next post I will try and post some feedback letters I post to the big grocery stores.



  1. Do you think the condition is better back home? Absolutely not. Bigger the store, more the number of bags.

    I always have had hard time convincing the shop keepers around the corner that I didn't want plastic bags. Now some are used to my habit and do not offer bags to me anymore.

  2. We mostly use reusable bags, but I like to have some plastic ones on hand occasionally to use for cleaning the kitty litter box. I'd like to stop using plastic bags for that too, but I haven't been able to come up with a solution that is as clean/non-stinky.

  3. I do use reusable bags (which are actually formerly rice bags), and in fact take other peoples bag collections to take out my trash in. I have not bought one of those green or black plastic garbage bags for well over a decade.

    However, I know that isn't typical. The only thing that will work is to stop giving them away for free. Many cities have joined in the banning or charging-for-each-bag trend. This is the only answer.

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  5. hey
    I am shocked to see another indian write such apart...great to see another sensitive Indian....bravo!!!!