Our grocery stores here have bags that are made of a fabric-type material, not paper or plastic, that you can buy for 99c at the shops and re-use over and over and over. We have about 20 of them and they are always in our car. Not only are they a lot tougher than plastic, they fit a lot more in, they have square bases with a sort of tray so that you can stand up your shopping and it all just fits better and is easier to carry. They're awesome. For a tiny expenditure you've got great shopping bags that will last for years. It's such a good idea and soooooo many people use them.
What irritates me is that any move that governments/businesses make to try and improve over-consumption (such as this issue with plastic bags) there will always be people who criticise and whinge and moan because it makes their lives a little more inconvenient. My view is, well, our lives will be a lot MORE inconvenient down the road if we don't start making these changes now.
I don't have a problem with changing some of the things I do in order to cut down on my usage, and disposal of, consumables and non-biodegradable products. Sure, it's bit of a pain, but so what?
We do all sorts of little things to cut down our waste. We don't buy those little mini tins of tuna, cat or dog food now to cut down on how many we throw away. We buy the largest block of cheese (for example) so as not to have a ton of wrappers. We have plastic ziplock bags that we wash and dry and use again. We have significantly cut down the amount of processed food we eat so as to have less packaging to dispose of. We use biodegradable detergents, cleaners and washing powder.
We use newspaper to clean the litter and the dog's poo - sure, again, a bit more of a hassle but really not that much. It's a hassle we're prepared to wear in order to have more sustainable lifestyles. We use a certain amount of fuel per week and if we run out before our designated day we use public transport or ride our bikes. We never use plastic bags at the shops, and if we have items that can be carried without a bag at all that's what we'll do.
Yes, we've had to change our lives so that our mod cons and conveniences and little things that we did to make our lives easier have been altered and we do put more of an effort into things to be more environmentally friendly. It's a bit of a pain at first and then you just do it naturally. It's easy to say you want to do your bit for the environment - but I know a lot of people who talk about it and advocate it, just so long as they don't actually have to change anything they're doing.
Human beings are lazy; everything we do is aimed at improving, speeding up, making things easier and focusing on us not actually having to expend any effort to do anything. Ellen Degeneres said it the funniest way, `We now have breath strips that dissolve on our tongue. What, we can't suck anymore?'
It's time to wake up and smell the roses. If plastic bags are a start, then so be it. Our lives are going to be a LOT more difficult in the long run if we don't make these little adjustments and sacrifices now, and just spend a little bit longer in our day (probably about 20 minutes) doing things right by our beautiful green earth.