Today while I was checking out at the supermarket I had an intense feeling of self-satisfaction (yes, I’ll even admit to a bit of smugness). Why, you may ask. The reason is pretty simple. I was using my re-usable grocery bag from Trader Joe’s to bag my groceries rather than the store-supplied plastic bags. As I placed my groceries in the bag I looked around to see if others were doing the same. They weren’t. Most of the shoppers in the self-service lane were using the ubiquitous plastic bags supplied by the store.
I have made using my own bags a personal mission. It has taken me some time to re-train myself after years of taking home the store’s bags. I have left them in the car more times than not but have even gone so far as to go back out to the car to get them. Nowadays I remember them more than half the time. I am building a new habit.
It seems to me that we in America are going to have to build new, more conservative habits. We have been the land of plenty for forever and now we need to re-think our habits in order to use fewer resources to achieve the same ends. So one day, when I look around the grocery store I will see everyone using their own bags. And that will be a good thing.
It occurs to me there’s another satisfaction in using my own bags. In this time of dark economic news and even darker news about the possibility of terrorism becoming rampant across the globe, it often seems that there is little that we can really control. The war in Iraq? No. The hotbed of conditions in Pakistan? No. The fact that my 401K is now a 101K? Nope. But I can put my groceries in a reusable bag and feel that I am doing some small thing to help my planet. I’ll take that for now.