Yesterday I shared what I learned during my 30 days of no alcohol.
As promised, today I’m announcing what my September “30 Days Of…” Challenge will be.
30 Days of no single use plastic shopping bags.
Plastic Shopping Bags.
Now before you roll your eyes, I did promise that this one would be somewhat easy.
I realize that quite a few of you live in cities, states, or even countries where these are banned or have a surcharge that makes them very unappealing.
That’s awesome! That means that you will be able to crush this challenge!
I have never lived in such a city.
I have been using reusable bags for probably 10+ years. I’m really good at remembering to take them to the grocery store.
However, sometimes I don’t bring enough for my purchases at big box stores. I don’t know why because I own enough. One big box store will put 1-3 items per plastic bag. This is a massive pet peeve of mine. So after many times
bitching informing my husband of my irritation, I began using the self-checkout lane. I know how best to pack my reusable bags and if on occasion, I don’t have enough then I will cram that plastic bag full. I don’t care if its seams are about to split. I know that I can cradle it like a little baby for the few steps from my car to my house.
But where I notice my big failing is when I head to department stores. It doesn’t always occur to me to carry a bag inside.
I am getting better about it, which is why I chose this as my first challenge.
By making it a challenge, I will be more mindful about always having a reusable bag available.
Recently I read an article about how Americans use 500 million straws per day.
Yes, you read that right.
I can’t find the exact article, but you can read about the problem and the initiative to eliminate the massive amount of straw consumption at The Last Plastic Straw.
I was in shock. Straws were not something that I ever even thought about. I don’t keep them in our home, but if I eat fast food or at a restaurant, I’ve always used a straw.
A one-time use item that then ends up in landfills and our oceans.
They say that knowledge is power.
So the question became… now that I had the knowledge, what would I do?
I haven’t had much of a chance to put it into play, but I have forgone the straw when possible (I didn’t on Mr. D’s birthday dinner because that was shortly after I read the article and it didn’t occur to me that they would bring the drinks with the straw already inserted. Lesson learned: inform the waitress upon ordering that I don’t need a straw).
So if I’m talking about plastic straws why is my challenge about plastic bags?
Honestly… because I need a win.
It’s my birthday month and the beginning of my official “30 days of” personal growth challenges.
In a recent conversation with my daughter about that wastefulness of the plastic shopping bags and plastic straws, she pointed out that sandwich bags are one-time use as well. I have some reusable items, but not enough to cover each component of three lunches that I pack each day. Then there are the prepackaged items like single servings of yogurt.
When it comes to the environment, it’s easy to think “I’m just one person, what I do doesn’t make a difference.”
But it does.
And if you’re vocal about what you’re doing, you just might see a trickle effect. When I told the hubby about the straw article, he was in shock too. And then he began forgoing the straw. I have always been better at “no plastic bags” than him, but new knowledge about the sheer amount of plastic waste and the insane amount of time it takes to decompose (I found an infographic here) has prompted him to be more conscientious about his role in bettering the environment as well.
I understand that environmentalism and sustainability and green living are things that millennials and post-millennials have been exposed to their entire lives. I have not. The internet has made the spread of knowledge about the harm that we are doing much more readily available, but you still have to be searching for the knowledge.
My 30 days will be based on plastic shopping bag usage, but I will also be monitoring my consumption of one-time use plastic.
While I may share what I discover across my household…
The only person that I can change is myself.
I hope that you’ll join in the challenge. I’ll be sharing how it goes after the 30 days. (update: to read how it went, check out this post.)
Let your light shine!