It was a gorgeous, blue skied day; the perfect day for a walk. We'd get to take in the picturesque beach scenes while completing a mission – gather some food for the week’s vacation. Granted, the perfection of the day required some time at the pool, ocean, or at least the protection of the shade to cool you and keep you from melting. So we set out on the ½ mile hike down to the local grocery store, kids in tow and plans in mind, eager to get back. We enjoyed a nice walk there and were happy to kill off a little of the extra vacation energy the children had built up.
Everyone knows that family beach vacations tend to require a good deal of snacks, food, and drink. Generally it is one of the first missions, especially on those that include a plane ride and no option for packing them. There were a lot of "needs" so we came armed with a list. We navigated the aisles and loaded the cart making our way to the register. As the cashier started to tally up our order we noticed that she wasn't bagging. A little confused my eyes searched for the bag rack so we could help to move the process along. The two little ones in tow were ready to get back to the beach and I’m not going to lie, I was a bit anxious to “relax” on vacation myself. The cashier noticed my confused searching and asked if I wanted a bag. "Oh yes please, that's exactly what I'm looking for". "They are here and they're $3.00 a piece" she replied, "how many do you want?" “Hmm…” I thought. How exactly will we make this work? I have two hands, one child that needs to hold my hand and one that will most likely need to be held (extra vacation energy can apparently wear off quickly). Seeing that my husband does well as a "pack mule" and prior to the where-are-the-bags debacle we had debated how he was going to handle carrying all of the bags back on the ½ mile walk. He was adamant that he could, and although there might have been part of me looking forward to seeing that, we both had to agree that there was no way he'd be able to get this many "loose" items in one trip (part of me still thinks he was willing to try when the cashier had said the price). To top it off the $3.00 reusable cloth bags weren't as large as normal bags and it looked as though it might take 4 dozen bags and possibly half the island's population to lend a hand to carry them, good luck right?
Apparently the island has big controversy around a plastic bag ban. I mean, I get it, who wants to see bags floating in the beautiful ocean or blowing along the side of the road? I had read so much recently about the plastic bag bans in different communities that I was familiar but somehow still completely surprised when faced with it. I am up to date on environmental issues and the concerns associated with the use of bags and most importantly the lack of recycling but in my mind a ban just isn't necessary. Not to mention the idea of banning something like this makes me think of prohibition; when the government tries to make people more responsible by taking away rights (that didn't work out so well). I love our environment, oceans, animals, etc. but I really don't agree with the need to ban bags if people could just act responsibly. In my mind, the key is the phrase "REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE"
REDUCE: Don't use more bags then you need.. The idea of stores trying to save money by using cheaper thus thinner bags does not seem to do anything but increase the issue of overuse. When the bagger has to "double up" or reduce the amount of items placed in the bags (the savings disappears and the amount of bags used doubles).
REUSE: Keep a little bag holder and reuse the plastic bags as needed. This can be purchased at local craft fairs or a fun project for the little ones. (take a look at the one CRI was gifted as a thank you for teaching some little ones about recycling)
So, how do we make it happen? How do we ensure that the bags stop ending up in all the wrong places? Education.
We need to teach everyone what the bags do to our wildlife and eco system. We need to educate our children about their/our duties of keeping our planet green and safe. We worry so much about educating our children everyday. We want to ensure they will have a bright and productive future. I totally agree that education is essential to a great future but it sure will be tough to have that bright and productive future if we trashed our planet and all the resources we need to survive everyday.
By the way, in case anyone is wondering, my husband was able to carry the bags and rewarded himself with a combination of pool, ocean, and an adult beverage because “Honey, it is vacation and did you see what I did. Even impressed myself on that one.”