Paper or plastic

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

Don't cover me with plastic garbage bags please! (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

I’ve always been opposed to garbage bags. Not opposed to garbage per se, just opposed to buying special bags to put it in. Buying bags whose express purpose is to be thrown away. It just seems wasteful and not eco-friendly. Bags made out of petroleum which go into a landfill and sit there for hundreds of years, just because of garbage. It seems wrong.

So for years I resisted buying official garbage bags. My goal was to use bags that were going to be thrown away anyway. I used the paper bags from the grocery store for garbage. Yes, I know tree huggers everywhere are groaning at this, but they are bags with a limited lifespan. You can reuse them once or twice, but sooner or later they get either recycled or thrown out. Then grocery stores switched to plastic bags. Those bags did not make good wastebasket bags. They were too small for the kitchen wastebasket, tended to tear easily and were flimsy. But they could not be recycled in my area at the time and would end up being thrown away eventually, so  I tried to make them work.  I ended up with a collection of partly filled little garbage bags each garbage day. Then, to top it off, the garbage collector man started to complain. Yes, the man whose job it was to pick up the garbage felt my garbage did not meet his standards. He wanted the garbage to be placed in standard garbage can size bags, so he could run up, pick up a bag from each can and run back to the truck. I pay extra for can service instead of curb service, so I didn’t think it necessary to gift wrap the garbage in special bags just for him. That would put me back to buying special bags just to be thrown away. I conceded by lining the garbage cans with used dry cleaning bags and putting all my little grocery store bags of garbage inside of those. It wasn’t gift wrapped, but at least he stopped complaining for a while.

Then one day, my family and I realized our grocery store garbage bag solution was not working. We had switched to the reuseable grocery store bags, so only accumulated about four  grocery store bags a month. This was not enough to keep up with our garbage, which is not that much considering our robust recycling efforts. So, I succumbed. I bought Glad handle-tie kitchen garbage bags. They worked great. The garbage man is happy. My family is happy because the bags don’t break or fall apart, hold plenty of garbage and are easy to carry out. But I’m not completely happy, because now I’m spending money on something whose only purpose is — to be thrown away.

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