Friday, March 8, 2013

Bag the Bag

Several months back, I started seeing ads on facebook that encouraged me and those in my neighborhood to “Ban the Bag, Boulder!” Closer inspection revealed that plastic bags, which we all know are not great for the environment, were going to be banned in our fair city and we’d all have to carry around those cloth bags that they sell at the store and most of us already had five or six of.
This is not me, but I would like to meet her
someday so I can tell her, "Good job
using recyclable bags!"
The worst part about those cloth bags is that I never want them until I’m at the checkout, and that’s the moment I look around for them and discover I should’ve looked sooner so they’d make it out my front door instead of just hanging on a hook in the kitchen or sitting in plain sight next to the door so I’d be sure not to forget them.
Another thing that bothers me (when I actually do remember to bring the bags) is having to give a bag with one store’s logo emblazoned on it to an employee of their direct competitor. The sacker probably doesn’t care that I’m not brand loyal and I go where the sales are. (They probably also couldn’t care less what it says on the bag they’re putting my groceries in, and I’m the only one that feels weird about it.)
A plastic bag ban probably would be good for many cities around the world. In my pantry, there’s usually a huge bag of plastic bags, fresh from the store, that I keep around until I use one or two of them for trash bags or for carting stuff to my mom’s house. But mostly, my plastic bag stash doesn’t get used. It gets bigger and bigger and bigger until we move away and just toss them in the trash during the moving process. There are a few grocery stores that have plastic bag recycling collection bins, which are probably nice to make use of, but if I have a hard time remembering my cloth bags, what chance to I have to remember to drag along my plastic bag stash to recycle it?
I was poking around on Ravelry recently, and found a pattern that called for “plarn.” “What is ‘plarn?’” my husband asked. “Where do you buy it?” “You don’t,” I informed him, producing what it is made of from out of my stash and crinkling it. “You cut one of these apart, and work with that. That’s why it’s called ‘plarn:’ plastic yarn.”
I decided to attempt something with “plarn.” I made two sides of a coin pouch, but then stopped before putting them together. For one thing, I didn’t have a zipper to close the top, and the other thing I was worried about was its strength. I wasn’t sure it wouldn’t just split open and spill its contents all over the place the first time it was tested. But recycling plastic bags this way seemed like a really good idea to me.
One half of my coin pouch
My next project (which still needs a good deal of pondering before I start) will be to make a recyclable grocery bag out of plarn. I need to be sure to make it big enough to hold everything that a recyclable cloth grocery bag does while still making sure it’s strong enough to hold the same things its cloth counterpart would. Figuring out how to make sure it can hold two gallons of milk and a five pound bag of potatoes is going to be a task.
If I don’t succeed, I can always take the failed attempt to the recycle bin at the store. If I do, I’ll never have to pay 99 cents at the store for a cloth bag again, nor will I have to take a plastic grocery bag home with me (unless I want to start a new project).
If I do succeed, the only trouble I’ll have is trying to remember to grab it before I leave to get groceries.

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Bag Count: THE END

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