Beginning January 1 in Los Angeles, single-use carry-out plastic bags were banned in all major grocery stores, and including big-box stores like Target and Walmart. Los Angeles is now the largest city in the nation to boast the ban. Major cities like San Francisco, Portland, Mexico City and Sydney, Australia have already beaten L.A. to the plastic punch.
PLASTIC BAG HOT PRO: Did you know it takes 91% LESS energy to recycle 1 pound of plastic than it does to recycle 1 pound of paper, AND it takes up less space in a landfill? TAKE THAT, ECO-TERRORISTS!
PLASTIC BAG SAD CON: A single plastic bag can take 20 to 1,000 years to degrade, and the average family accumulates 60 bags in 4 trips to the grocery store. And every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
Ok, so it’s probably for the best that we have the ban. There are too many irresponsible people in this city to be trusted to reduce, reuse, and recycle. But what about smart, responsible, savings-conscious guys and gals like you and me? My first thought immediately went to poo- literally.
What am I going to use for my dog poop bags? My dog is tiny, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a tiny little poo-machine. She goes, on average, 3-4 times a day. That’s 3-4 bags. Now knowing what I know about your average plastic bag, 3-4 a day seems like a big boo-boo for the ocean. But in this economy, buying your dog’s poop bags can leave a real shiner on your wallet.
A 4-pack of biodegradable dog bags goes for about $ 8.99 plus tax. That’s about 60 bags for close to $10. Regular plastic waste bags aren’t much cheaper. I did the math and know I go through about 112 bags a month, even more if I’m also walking my roommate’s dog. So that’s $20 or more I would literally be covering in poop and throwing into the garbage every 30 days. Aw hell nah. I love the earth but I really like money, and I work hard on my feet every day to just to have it. So what’s a gal to do?
I’ll tell ya. She goes to the grocery store and cleans them out of produce bags. I stuff an extra one into each one of my produce purchases. Or I’ll buy 3 pears and use a bag for each.
Feeling bold? Want to go BANANAS?? You can buy a whole bunch of ’em and bag each one individually! If I get questioned, I just make a firm statement that sounds like a good excuse which doesn’t quite add up but also can’t be argued with. Something like, “Oh, yeahhh, I have to walk up a lot of stairs” or “I’m taking care of my sick uncle” is perfect. Just make sure you’re committed to your choice and you say it with a sweet smile. They really can’t argue with sweetness, TRUST. Or you can avoid all contact and just go to the self-scanning aisle.
Share this tip with any other members of your household and you can double or even triple your supplies! Another hot tip: restaurants that do take-out are still allowed to carry plastic bags, so you can order something small, maybe a side of fries or veggies to go with your home-made dinner? And then ask for an extra bag. You’re already armed with a few solid excuses, now GO, you’ve GOT THIS.
It’s like 80’s hair band Cinderella always said, “Don’t know what ya got (Till it’s gone).” With the exception of a few fancy Target and H&M bags we’re “saving for special occasions,” it wasn’t too long ago that my roommate and I had both mourned the inevitable end of our plastic bag collections. She hit rock bottom on a recent Saturday morning, just as our street was bustling with neighbors and realized she was bag-less right after her dog did her thang. Not wanting to become the neighborhood pariah, she frantically searched her pockets and the only thing she had was a single dollar bill. She humbly stooped down and scooped the tiny poop with her hard-earned barista buck and threw it right into the trash. The way things are going, we may all someday be using our actual currency to pick up our pet’s poop. Until then, let’s just keep pulling the bag over the eyes of our corporate restaurants and grocery stores. They can handle it. TRUST.
Erin Lampart is a comedian and story-teller living in Los Angeles with her cool dog, Jan. Part-time waitress and full-time dork, you can follow her on Twitter @ThatsSoLampy