Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Paper or Plastic? Neither.

Where I am from, they have begun eliminating paper/plastic bags completely from all grocery stores. You must bring your own reusable bags from home, or pay extra money to get plastic bags to carry your groceries in. I don’t know if they have begun taking this green initiative where you are from, so I felt it was important to fill you in.

And begin.

I’m getting a little sick of the reusable bag craze. I know we’re all trying to save the planet, but I’ve had enough. It seems like any event you go to, whether a career fair, festival, marathon, or whatever, they are throwing reusable bags at you. Even when you go shopping at certain stores in the mall, if you spend enough money, they give you a reusable bag.

“Oh gee, you spent over two dollars, here take this bag. It’s great for the grocery store, or packing a lunch. Oh, also it’s free advertising for us, but that’s not what we care about, we care about the planet earth.”

How is it great for lunches? These reusable bags are gigantic. It would be great for packing a lunch if you were eating a rack of lamb, maybe. But lamb is a supper food. In theory, it’s nice to receive free shit, but I already have about seventeen thousand of these bags that I bought at the grocery store, right when they first started featuring those coat racks of bags near the checkout.

“Hey those nifty reusable bags are on sale, I’ll get some more, you can never have too many.”

Actually you can, and now I do. Do you?

The first thing you need to do is find other uses for the bags. Unless you’re buying enough groceries to feed a moderate sized army, you’ll never need all seventeen thousand bags at once in one trip to the grocery store. You can’t throw any of them away either, because, that’s not being very green at all. So, put them to good use. There is a whole array of reusable items you can create using the reusable bags.

Staple a bunch together to make reusable curtains or a quilt. Shove newspaper in one and staple it shut to make a reusable cushion. Nail them to your wall as reusable posters. Fill one full of rocks and make a reusable weapon. Don’t bother with paper towels, J-cloths or Sham-wows ever again, since, you guessed it, they can double as reusable wiper things. It is not advised, however, to follow this theory with reusable Kleenex or toilet paper. Cut out the bottom of the bag and turn it sideways, and there you have it: a reusable tankini-top. Think of the possibilities: reusable pants, reusable belts, even reusable neckties! And you’ll be making a statement, publicly declaring that you clearly have a green seamstress thumb. But be careful when creating reusable fashion, as a pair of reusable underwear is only good for a few days before you’ll get a reusable rash. The same goes for reusable socks, with reusable athlete’s foot. And what you do behind closed doors is your business, but you must always remember that reusable condoms can lead to reusable herpes, or even reusable babies.

Regardless of how many of these bags I have in my household, I never remember to bring a single one of them to the grocery store, even with the reusable curtains and bedspread serving as constant reminders. Has this happened to you yet? You’re walking in to the grocery store and you look over at the other consumers heading in.

“Say, those people already have bags.” He pauses briefly and thinks for a moment. “FUCK!”

To turn around, get back in your car, drive home, get the bags and drive back, defeats the entire eco-friendly purpose of the reusable bags. But unless your last name is Rockefeller, paying five cents for a plastic bag just seems like a luxury that we commoners can’t afford. So, it’s time for some creative shopping.

Your first step is to aim for food with handles. Buckets of corn oil, jugs of cranberry juice or Sunny D, box of Diet Pepsi cans, or even those little plastic containers with the barbecued chickens and the built-in cardboard handles on top, are all good choices and great ways to cover some of your basic nutritional needs. To ensure that you always get your necessary daily nutrients, make sure to cover the four essential handle-food groups: Buckets, Jugs, Boxes and Random Things with Built-In Handles.

If you can’t fulfill all of your grocery needs with the above mentioned groups, grab a big frozen pizza box from the freezer aisle and start balancing stuff on it like a serving tray. When you go out and serve up a tray of groceries to your car, you’ll feel like you work in one of those cool new roller skating waiter or waitress type restaurants like I've only read about on T.V. It’s also very important to remember that frozen pizza can also be eaten, but only if cooked.

If all of these techniques have been attempted, and you still find yourself with loose articles of food, your next course of action should be to take bags from the produce section. They have giant rolls of free bags, and you can take as many as you want. It’s not illegal. No one is watching to see if you take them and then actually put apples or pears in them. Nowhere does it say, “Only use these for produce, not to store your groceries at checkout”. Even so, you’ll probably get one of these real hippy cashiers named Jeff, or Dwayne, or Cheyenne, or Coco-Puff, who will give you a real suspicious look and ask you real sternly if you took those bags from the produce section. Be prepared for this, don’t let it stop you, and say what I say.

“Fuck you! I bought a whole mess of fruit last week and now I’m reusing. I’m doing my part, Dwayne.”

That will shut him up. He might even throw in a scared and embarrassed “Good for you” if your performance was solid enough.

The weight limit on these bags is low, with a capacity of only two or three cans of Manwich. Quite possibly, your groceries are too heavy duty, and the thin and clear produce bags will not suffice. Well there is one final technique that I like to apply in this case. You must be sure to have some rope in your trunk at all times. Throw all of your groceries back into your cart at the checkout line, after paying for them, of course. After all, you’re not a criminal. But let it be a no-bag free-for-all in your cart. Now take the cart out to your car, take the rope out of the trunk, tie your cart to the roof of your car and take your groceries home. It’s foolproof. You don’t even need to worry about that little device on the wheel of the cart that locks it at a certain distance from the store. Your car is doing all the necessary wheeling. If you’re worried about losing food along the way, don’t worry too much. Think of all the money you saved on not paying for those expensive plastic bags. If you are really hell-bent on keeping all of your food, wrap a big tarp around the top of the cart, sealing everything inside like leftovers on a plate in the fridge. This is good for rainy days as well.

Afterwards, because of the wheel locking device, as well as the elemental damage from the drive, the cart is not at all reusable, so after you’ve unloaded all of your groceries into your home, dump the cart, preferably in a lake, field or forest. If it's one of those old-school carts in which you had to deposit a quarter, or for some reason you insist on trying to reuse it, simply leave it strapped to your car roof and reuse it next time you go to the grocery store. This works best with most sedans and hatchbacks, however if you have a van, truck or SUV, you probably won’t be able to maneuver through the aisles very easily.

I guess another idea is to, instead of leaving rope and tarp in your trunk, leave some reusable bags in there. But that seems like an awful lot of work. Honestly, who has time to think about that kind of stuff?

That’s it. Remember the four R’s: recycle, reuse, and rinse, repeat.

1 comment:

  1. Using frozen pizza as a tray? Thought I was the only cat who did that haha.