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Sorry, Earth, I forgot my bag.

2011 January 2
by Justine

It’s 2 a.m., and I should have been asleep a long time ago. There’s something about the beginning of a fresh year that gets my mind realing. So, on January 2nd, I find myself idealizing what could be, while reminiscing the outcome of my 2010 resolution. Against all tradition, I decided last year to forgo the annual “I’ll lose _ pounds by summer” resolution and aim small: Eliminate plastic shopping bags from my routine. The hope being that I could, for the first time, have a goal that would stick. Considering a plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to break down, this statistic is disheartening:

It’s estimated that, worldwide, 1 million plastic bags are used every minute, and that number is expected to increase. And while most plastic bags can be recycled, fewer than 5 percent of plastic bags used in the United States are actually recycled.

My goal was a success. For the most part. Large grocery shopping trips were the most successful; with full intention of carrying out bags of loot, it was easy to remember my vow. It’s the unexpected trips, and the occasional clothing or household item impulse buy that got me.

My 2010 bag collection

Just this evening I sifted through the household plastic bag collection, and I must admit it’s not a small pile. Not to mention, some have probably gone by the wayside over time. Should I feel guilty? Maybe a little. But I’m not beating myself up over it. I made progress. I carried my portable shopping bag with me at almost all times, and saved a lot of petroleum and trees in doing so. And, in an attempt to wash away my sins, this evening I began making plastic yarn and crocheting a more durable shopping tote. Upcycling to the rescue.

Reflecting on my 2010 resolution made me realize just what a monumental task it is to change habits. So, I will be strict, but kind to myself in my continual attempts to become a more conscientious and less selfish member of humanity. This blog is my channel to keep myself honest, and share the struggles and achievements we all experience in caring for ourselves, Earth, and its inhabitants.

P.S. If you aren’t a crocheter, or willing to commit to this labor-intensive process, the infamous Martha S. has a method to make reusable totes from old t-shirts. Super simple, and a great way to upcycle those shirts: Making reusable tote bags with t-shirts

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