Sunday, April 25, 2010

Going Green, But Slowly

So, this week was Earth day, and I have to admit I am a really lousy conservationalist. I have good intentions, I really do, but with three kids, one of whom is, shall we say, rather difficult...I just don't reduce, reuse, or recycle as consistently as I should.

Case in point: reusable shopping bags. I own several of these, and sometimes, when I'm running to Publix with the boys for a midweek grocery refresher, I'll grab a bag on my way out the door and use it for the milk, etc. that I need. However, when it comes to our usual weekly shopping trip, I almost never bring the bags. It has just seemed like a huge inconvenience when I'm already dragging a three-year-old, a baby in a carseat, my purse, my Moby wrap, and a moody protesting tween out to the van.

This week, though, DS3 spent the week listening to Nick Jr. talk about the Big Green Help. He begged me to go online and download the little widget that lets him make green pledges and track them for the year. I did, even though I know he won't have the attention span to keep up with it longer than two weeks. One of the pledges he made was to use reusable shopping bags, so, this week, I made sure to grab them on the way out the door.

I know that I have purchased at least five or six of these things over the past few years, but I could only find two bags from Publix, plus one I got free at Books-A-Million for signing up for a discount card. Okay, I figured, whatever. Something is better than nothing, right? When we checked out, we handed the bags over to the cashier, and we were actually surprised at how much she was able to pack into those three bags. We still needed to use a few plastic bags, but the number of those we needed to bring home and store was significantly reduced. (We do use plastic bags as wastebasket liners in the bathrooms, so we don't feel the need to completely eliminate these.) When we loaded the groceries into the van, we found that the nice, square sides of the reusable bags fit much more easily into the trunk. When we carried the groceries inside, we found the straps of the few cloth bags to be much more comfortable that the ten or more plastic bags we would have had to carry otherwise.

All in all, we are really wondering why we didn't do this sooner. We are pledging to really start remembering to bring these dang things with us when we go to the store. We are going to really use them for our weekly grocery trips, not just when we're running in for three or four items. If you've been a late adopter like us, I strongly encourage you to give these bags a try this week. It's not just better for the planet. It's better, period. We are not the greenest family on the block, but this is a switch that is just a no-brainer. If only we had realized sooner...