Depending on where exactly you find yourself grocery shopping here in Southern Oregon, you’ll find that-that greatly determines the inevitable question given by the cashier as he/she prepares to bag your goodies laying there on the conveyor belt.
Stroll on down to Safeway in Medford, and they automatically assume for you that you want Plastic, and lots of it. While their are more than enough varying opinions on just how long it takes a plastic bag to decompose, their is a heaping pile of conclusive scientific evidence showing their potential harm to our environment just in and of themselves. This current understanding of one time plastic bag use has lead the majority of us to require other options for our bagging needs.
In the quaint small town of Jacksonville, the one and only grocery store in town, Rays Food Place, offers the classic: “Paper or Plastic”. Since the fight in California to ban plastic bags, there has been much conversation on the environmental impacts of their counterpart, the paper bag. For instance, 80% of paper bags end up in land fills and, of course, their is the issue of deforestation, air and water pollution from pulp mills, high energy and water use in production and recycling, and consumption of landfill space.
Then there is Ashland: the Rogue Valleys claim to alternative. The Food Co-Op on First Street lives up to it’s towns reputation. There you have one of two choices for your bagging needs: Paper, of which your going to pay 5 cents per bag for, or Your Own Reusable Bag. Keeping with their eco-forward friends down in California and elsewhere around the world, there is no option for one time use plastic bags.
If environmental savviness is what you crave, then this option too leaves you with a conundrum as many reusable bags are made from PVC or with harsh chemical dyes, and then make the long journey to us from somewhere overseas, assume China. Add to the insult, most of these undesirable reusable bags are hardly ever reused and that results to one costly green trend.
The answer here isn’t grocery shopping in an extra long hemp shirt that you can put all your items in, though admission made for sheer amusement, I’d pay at least $10 to see it done. No, there really is no one bag fits all model. Just as the bagging choices here in Southern Oregon are diverse, so are we the individuals that make up the Rogue Valley. If we all take into consideration our impact on our environment, and how to best be stewards of this beautiful place we live, I’m sure our bagging choices will be the best one.
For me, these True Reusable Bags are the bags for me.