Waste Not

I mean well. I want to use reusable bags at the grocery store, but it is next to never that I manage to get out the door with bags. But I cringe at using plastic bags. I feel like I am creating waste upon waste with 10-15 bags not even nearly full. After all, nearly everything I bring home is packaged already. Our family came up with a plan not long ago. I put everything on the little conveyor belt that is already bagged -- Potatoes, bread, oranges, pretzels, (and the milk, they are going to bag it by itself anyway and it has a handle). I put down a little divider and place the small items -- cheese, canned tomatoes, nuts, etc. I ask them to simply put the items in the front back in the grocery cart and the others in paper bags.

This seems simple enough but I always end up explaining my plan three or four times. Then there is the getting out the door. It looks like I haven't paid, so I carry my receipt. Out at the car, I line everything up in the back of the Subaru. I smile as people look on at this unusual method and just keep loading! The groceries look so beautiful and colorful lined up in a row and it doesn't take any longer. When I get home, it makes it much easier for the children to help carry groceries in because they like to choose their favorite and lighter items and they can see them because they are right there. It adds no time to our grocery shop except for the explaining. And, if you've ever asked for paper, you will see that they stuff way more into the paper bags than into plastic. I usually come home with only one or two bags!

I feel like everywhere I turn there is waste. I don't know why my eyes see it so clearly, but I do. Food and clothes and cars and dishes and furniture are tossed away and there are people that would do anything for a little of this. This year, as a response to this, I decided not to buy any new clothes. No new clothes for a year. On January 10th, I had to buy a uniform to teach in. I'm planning to make it to January 10th of next year without buying any clothes. I've shopped at a few consignment stores and I have dear sisters that shares and a few friends that have shared maternity clothes with me. It has been an adventure. Now, I can't say I've looked entirely fashionable, but I've not had to go unclothed or uncomfortable. I'm not exactly sure where it is taking me. Learning to sew my own clothes isn't a reality. Continuing to buy second hand, especially in a college town makes this a decent solution. There are a few other reasons for my desire to do this. One day while I folded laundry, I counted 15 countries on the tags of our clothes. All but one was a third world country. This doesn't seem fair or right to me. If I'm going to buy clothes, do I know that the person that made them is getting a fair wage? Do I know the person that made it? Should I? I don't know.

Maybe by January 10th it will become clear. Until then . . .


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