Monday, August 15, 2011

Say no to every plastic bag

Local bans of plastic grocery bags have come into vogue. There's a good article in the Los Angeles Times on the plastic bag ban now being enacted in unincorporated parts of LA County. There are numerous reasons for avoiding the use of plastic bags, among them the environmental impact of manufacturing and distributing the bags, the problem of having such disposable products floating around our streets and waterways and the hazards these littered bags pose to animals. From an organizational perspective, plastic bags can quickly take over a pantry or closet. We see these convenient tools as being too good to throw away; they are usually strong and stand up to multiple uses, so we are loathe to trash them and we are uncertain about recycling them. In many places, they are not recyclable.

Tiny bag folded up.
Unfolded, it holds so much stuff, stylishly!
I am vehemently anti-plastic bags and I think the bans are a good thing. I always bring reusable bags when grocery shopping or even shopping at a mall. I never take a bag if the item I'm purchasing is small enough to stow in my purse or carry in my hand. I keep two collapsible bags in my purse at all times. If I must take a bag, I reuse it as many times as possible before recycling it.

To those who think they are incapable of remembering to bring bags with them, I say nonsense. Stash a few in your car, your glove box, your purse or backpack. Many businesses offer incentives for bringing your own bags - take advantage of this! Bulky canvas bags are super sturdy, but lightweight scrunch-style bags take up very little room. There's really no excuse. Get on the no-plastic-bag bandwagon!

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email Sign up for Lelah's News, a once-monthly newsletter.

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