Monday, April 20, 2009

paper or plastic?

Earth Day is is right around the corner and I know there are millions of earth-lings out there just sitting around wondering "What can I do to help save this planet?". While I'm not certain that what I am about  to suggest will single-handedly halt the destruction of our home turf, I think it is a small step in the right direction. Alright, here it is... (I know you're gonna love it)... B.Y.O.B. Yes, that's right. Where ever you go, just B.Y.O.B.! To the thrift shop. To the library. To the grocery store. It'll be fun! It will make you feel sooo GOOD! And everyone will think you are just SO cool, and they'll want to B.Y.O.B. too!
What is that you say? How can public drunkenness help save the Earth? My, my, Silly Rabbit. Is that what you thought I was suggesting? Well, put down the bottle of Cuervo and listen up:
What I am proposing is that you Bring Your Own Bag!
Where ever you go where you might be offered a shiny new bag to carry home your latest finds, respond (righteously), "No thank you, I brought my own!" And it doesn't have to be some fancy-shmancy, logo-laden, hemp one either (which was probably imported from China anyway).

Here are some suggestions:
  • used onion bags (the mesh ones) are wicked strong and you can easily add handles to them- just weave or tie some fabric, rope, whatever, through the mesh.
  • pillow cases- if you are the least bit crafty you can turn one into a neat tote by cutting off the upper 1/3 (open end), cut in two, fold length-wise to form two handles and sew onto the remaining 2/3 of case. Embellish with paint, stamping, pockets.
  • recycled grain/flour bags- Especially a nice sturdy paper bag. Like this one. 100% handmade by me in my tiny one-woman-studio in the Maine woods.
  • or if you're pressed for time and sewing skills, just grab a handful of the THOUSANDS that your mother has accumulated over the past, oh, I don't know... two weeks! (Mum, are you listening???) Stash them in your car and you can B.Y.O.B where ever you go!
Yeah, but will this small act really help? You bet! Reusing a bag meant for just one use has a BIG impact:
  • a reused paper or plastic bag needs only be used 11 times to have a (drastically) lower impact than 11 new bags (kinda obvious, huh?)
  • when 1 ton of paper or plastic bags are reused, more than 27 cubic feet of landfill space is saved (less obvious)
  • in Downeast Maine alone, one less grocery bag per person would reduce waste by.. well, a WHOLE BUNCH! (friggin' awesome...)
And finally, in answer to the age old query "Paper or Plastic?" Consider this...
Paper is easier to recycle, accepted at most recycling centers and just better looking than plastic!
But really, the fact is: The difference between paper and plastic recycling is tiny compared with reusing those same bags.

So Happy Earth Day! And please reuse responsibly.


  1. Yeah! They should just ban plastic bags all together- they're just so gross. Especially when they are caught up in the tops of trees. Yuck!

  2. You are a hoot! I always BYOB- in fact I received one of your totes as a gift and it goes everywhere with me! LOVE it!