Some time ago, I wrote about the struggle I was having remembering to take my reusable bags into the store with me. I'm happy to report that 18 months later, I rarely have to do an about-face in the parking lot to march back to the car for the bags.
The west coast has a reputation for being at the forefront of environmental issues, so I was surprised to learn Seattle just voted down a referendum that would have charged shoppers 20 cents per plastic or paper disposable bag.
The fee idea was based on Ireland's PlasTax, which, according to an article posted on the Environmental News Network's website, reduced plastic bag consumption there by more than 90%.
I remember the first time I ran into this concept - it was years ago during G's and my courtship. I was visiting him in the Netherlands, and we went grocery shopping. G made sure to bring some sturdy bags from home. He explained that if he didn't bring his own bags to the grocery store, he would have to buy their heavy reusable plastic bags for 25 cents each.
It's funny how this idea struck me: I didn't consider the conservation aspect. What came first to my mind was how inefficient the system seemed, trying to get every shopper to bring their own bags. And then how with all the different shapes and sizes of the bags G brought, the bagged groceries didn't look orderly: in the grocery cart, in the car trunk, and then on the kitchen counter, there was a disturbing untidiness to them. (Looking back, a pretty nutty thought.) And last, a bit of disbelief, that something we got for free in the U.S., the Dutch had to pay for.
Now, of course, I know that those Dutch were pretty smart after all.