Plastic Grocery Bags, No Longer a Package Deal!

One good use for plastic bags...a fashion statement!
One good use for plastic bags...a fashion statement!

No Plastic Bag For You!

There is a conspiracy brewing out there. Right in my hometown, in my very own neighbourhood, and I am sick and tired of pretending that thats not what it is.

It started a long time ago, but it hadn’t really caught on the way some had hoped. The big grocery giant, Superstore, had started charging customers for plastic bags.

‘You want a bag for those groceries?’ the cashier would ask. ‘Pony up then, we’re trying to save the environment.’ She would joke. But it wasn’t really a joke.

I was incredulous the first time I had to pay for grocery bags, but what was I going to do? I realized right then and there how very important those bags were to me and my daily trip to the grocery store, so I approved the 5 cent charge for one bag.

Unfortunately for Superstore, I made a conscious decision to stop shopping there after that incident. Paying for groceries was expensive enough, having two children at the time, and 5 cents for every bag was highway robbery in my opinion.

Of course I understood the reason at the time. Save the environment! Plastics don’t biodegrade! And on and on. But I just wasn’t ready to make that sacrifice just yet.

Then, I began to hear of stores, and even whole towns making by-laws against plastic bags. Reusable bags were the way to go.

So while shopping around the liquor store for a weekend at the chalet, I wasn't completely shocked when the cashier told me they no longer used bags. But I looked at her questioningly, wondering how I would carry out 3 bottles of wine, a bottle of brandy, 2 bottles of rum, a baby, and 2 children without one of the bottles ending up smashed all over the pavement.

Not only was it difficult to manage juggling the bottles, it was more than a little embarrassing walking out with all those spirits. What were people thinking? Here was a mother of 3, arms loaded with alcohol, barely holding on to her infant car seat with two little girls trailing behind her.

I’m sure the consensus was ‘bad mommy!’

But wait, this no-plastic bag craze was just beginning. While shopping at the local grocery store, that had previously supplied bags, I was once again told that if I wanted bags, I would have to pay. 5 cents per bag, or I could buy an environmentally friendly, reusable bag for just 1 dollar.

The cashier looked sheepish, as if she didn’t want to charge me for them. I’m sure she had gotten an earful from other unhappy customers sick and tired of being charged for everything, so I smiled and told her to charge me for two bags.

And just like that, they lost me as a customer.

Listen, I’m not against saving the planet and doing what I can for the environment, but what about those people, like me, who used grocery bags for household garbage bags? Now I have to go out and buy plastic bags and they are expensive. So what are we saving in the end? No grocery bags means more people buying plastic garbage bags. It doesn’t add up.

Someone, somewhere has come up with a plan to make money off of us. We are the blind public and we have once again, been taken advantage of.

Garbage bag companies have probably increased sales ten-fold since this ridiculous ban. Not to mention those companies making the reusable bags. I have about 10 of those bags at home, but I always manage to forget them when I go shopping. So I buy another one.

You see where I’m going with this? I am almost positive that those bag-making companies have bet on the fact that people will forget, but that their environmentally-friendly conscience will force them to buy another one.

For sure there are those who take their bags religiously with them to the store, but I’ve got 3 kids to think about and reusable bags are not high on my list of things to bring with me. The item on the top of my list? Baby’s soother.

Do not forget soother ever!!!

Being environmentally friendly is part of my life too. I am a recycler. My recycle bin is twice as large as my garbage bin, and it is always brimming at pick-up, whereas, my garbage bin is almost always only half-full.

I do take the environment seriously. It is our responsibility to keep our earth clean. I just think we have let some marketing strategists pull the wool over our eyes and I, for one am not happy about it.

That is the conspiracy brewing in my town. And we have all been taken for fools.

Written by,

Megan Ricci, Author

 The Write World

More by this Author


Comments 9 comments

Allyson 7 years ago

Always forget my reusable bags and always pay the $ for a few more. Seriously have about 40 green reusable bags floating around my house and there are sure to be about ten more in the next few weeks. Not sure whats right or wrong in this situation but you make a great point and definitely something to think about.


Martha 7 years ago

I can see your point. However, since our town has gotten rid of the white plastic bags, the roads and trees coming into town are SO much cleaner, not to mention the difference at the garbage dump! It's amazing to see how well the people of our town have transitioned into the use of reusable bags. I am also a mother. I delegated the job of remembering the bags to my daughter and it seems to work quite well.


megs78 profile image

megs78 7 years ago from quebec Author

Thanks Ally and Martha for your comments! I know I can't speak for everyone when I say I reuse my grocery bags and that I would never dump garbage on the side of the road. The fact is, many people care a lot less about the environment than I do.

I just feel a little ripped off nowadays. Groceries are so expensive in the first place. I need that grocery bag to be free for so many reasons. First of all, so that I don't have extra to pay. (I mean, I cut coupons for cents) Secondly, so that I don't have to go out and pay even more for garbage bags.

I'm sure there are benefits to losing the plastic bag, but those benefits extend beyond environmental gain. We have to be critical now. We can't just let a couple people dictate what we can and can't do or have.

AIG, Lehman Brothers, The recession and Madoff should be proof enough that all is not what it seems.

But thanks again for all comments, keep em coming. :)


mom/dad 7 years ago

Hey Megs:

I agree with you. I forget my bags every time. I hate getting duped into buying more so I carry everything in my arms and hands and hope I make it to the car. I've gotten into the habit of buying little bits at a time instead of a big shopping. We only have one store so I'm hooped plus I believe in shopping locally so that I never have to be forced to travel two hours either direction for a grocery store which is my reality. Loved it, Meg.


mom/dad 7 years ago

Hey Megs:

I agree with you. I forget my bags every time. I hate getting duped into buying more so I carry everything in my arms and hands and hope I make it to the car. I've gotten into the habit of buying little bits at a time instead of a big shopping. We only have one store so I'm hooped plus I believe in shopping locally so that I never have to be forced to travel two hours either direction for a grocery store which is my reality. Loved it, Meg.


Ashley 7 years ago

Great article, megs78!

My alarm bells have gone off also. If those at the top really did care, then a whole host of things in our world would surely be attended to and fixed by now. Not the least, holistic educational & relationship standards that generate polluted minds who would litter.

I'm sure proponents can trot out an array of 'official' data (whether contrived or factual) but from my experience, many plastics around my home (in the outside or under the soil) have actually broken quite quickly.


ms.b 7 years ago

Bring your own bag! I have reusable bags stuffed in my work bag, in my car, and in my diaper bag. That way I am rarely without a bag to re-use. I have a couple that fold down into a tiny pouch and they fit in my purse. The reusable bags are handy for carrying all sorts of things; groceries, toys, paperwork, and retail purchases beyond just groceries. These bags are now selling for very low prices (88 cents!) and are often made of recycled materials.

I use reused bags of all types for garbage bags. For the bathroom or other small trash cans: wrapper bags that toys or clothes come in, the bag/wrapper that a large pack of diapers or toilet paper comes in, produce bags, dry cleaning bags; I've even used a large corn chip bag! I have a friend who has stored up tons and tons of bags over the years, and she gave a bunch of her bags to another friend who reuses them for trash bags.

I think that the stores have been giving out way too many bags for years, and it is about time that we swing the other way to be a little more conservative of our resources.

Plastic bags blow away very easily from trash cans, landfills, and recycling bins (plastic bags should not be recycled via recycling bins in most areas.) They enter our streams and rivers, and end up in the ocean. They litter our roadways and tangle in the trees.

An estimated one million sea birds, turtles, and other marine life die each year after entanglement with a plastic bag. They eat the small pieces and choke, get strangled, and other horrifying stuff.

From http://www.slate.com/id/2169287/: 'certain news sources cite a 500-year estimate while others prefer a more conservative 1,000-year lifespan. According to some plastics experts, all these figures are just another way of saying "a really, really long time."'

A little effort goes a long way! Us mothers need to think about what kind of world we are leaving our children!


megs78 profile image

megs78 7 years ago from quebec Author

Ms. B.

Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate it. I do believe a little effort goes a long way and thats why I'm a big recycler. I make big efforts to conserve energy and I do think often about the state that we are going to leave the world in for our children. I have 3 of them so its important to me.

However, this article is not trying to dispute recycling and reusing in any way. I am only being skeptical. You have to admit that there is a lot of money to be made with this reusable bag era and we all know that there are some very cunning people out there ready to exploit the masses in a very undercover way.

All I am saying in this hub is to be careful. Its great that you reuse diaper bags and corn chip bags etc..., but I reused plastic grocery bags, and now I have to go and buy bags because I no longer have grocery bags. Go figure! It just doesnt add up...

Anyways, thanks again for the comment and thanks for being so environmentally conscious. :)


websclubs profile image

websclubs 5 years ago

Hi megs78,

What were people thinking? the environment people on plant earth responsibility to keep the earth clean ...Be environmentally friendly recycle garbage-- No grocery bags means more people buying plastic garbage bags..."Garbage bag companies" plan to make money? used grocery bags for household garbage bags. plastic bags are expensive. are we saving any money? "no-plastic bag craze" While shopping at the local grocery store, that had previously supplied paper bags, The cashier once again said if we wanted bags, we would have to pay. 5 cents per bag, or we could buy an environmentally friendly, reusable bag for just $1 dollar ... environmentally -friendly conscience will force you to buy more not less? no longer used paper bags? looked at The cashier questioningly, wondering how to carry out--

Interesting hub Thanks.

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