UNLESS… Plastic


The plastic problem at my house was too many plastic grocery sacks. We thought a solution would be to reuse them as trash can liners in place of buying the rolls of plastic bags found in the cleaning supply aisle of the grocery store.

Then came the realization… the bags can get loose on trash day in that little space of time that the can is hoisted up to the truck and opens upside down into the hopper. If there is wind… look what happens. The bags get into the environment.


In our case, the bag ended up in our Wildlife Habitat preserve. Not very pretty during the winter… and not very safe for the birds that will come to nest here in the spring.


We solved the problem by switching to reusable market bags. Our refuse is placed either as-is or in paper bags into the trash can. Our organic waste is either composted or given as “treats” to our dogs (with their health in mind, of course!).

Shopping aftermath used to be this:


Now it looks like this:


Join others who want to make things better-

UNLESS…Earth Friendly Chroniclers: Plastic


  1. I’m happy to report, Jane, that we have had reusable ‘green’ bags for some time, available for purchase from our supermarkets. They stay in the car so they are always with us for the next grocery shop. BUT, we do still occasionally come home with the odd (biodegradable) plastic bag. We do use some for disposing of waste (the stuff we can’t compost). Also, all the supermarkets take back all plastic bags for recycling. – so we are not totally backward in the Antipodes 🙂

    1. Awesome! I’m noticing that the sharing of comments in the challenge is also going to be a great tool for gaining understanding about Earth-friendly thinking. With your comment, we can see insight from east and west coast perspectives in the United States, and there in Sydney, Australia.

      I think there is great value in this, as inspiration for those who already changed to eco-friendly bag-use habits to stay on course, and encouragement for those who haven’t changed habits to give it a try.

    1. Agreed. Washington QFCs have the best reusables. They can easily be wiped out inside with sanitizing cloth. Down here in Oregon they are made of a weird fabric that can not be cleaned. I think that’s one thing users of reusables need to be aware so the good habit is also a healthy one. 😉

  2. Great post, Jane. We do the same to re-use plastic bags from stores. But we haven’t had a problem with those bags escaping from the can. I still feel that twinge of guilt in throwing them away. More often I use them to hold the litter box scoopings….. North Carolina is considering legislation to ban plastic bags, and I hope they do. I’ve gotten some great bags from the health food store in Lincoln City which collapse to the size of a hacky-sack. Keeping one in my purse is an easy way to always have a bag with me. Hope you are well and warm. WG

    1. Hello WG-
      I like the idea of a bag that collapses that small… would help to overcome the problem of getting to the checkout and realizing that the reusables are still in the car or at home… a syndrome that I think we pass through as we wean off “paper or plastic.” I’m much better now at not forgetting than I was when we first made the commitment to eliminate one-time use bags as much a possible.

      (We are warm… it’s wind and rain that are in abundance this weekend.)

      1. Yes, we go through that ‘forgetting the re-useables in the car’ problem, too. There are a few stores in VA which accept used plastic bags for recycling, and that is a move forward. It is so much nicer to get a paper bag (made from recycled paper, of course) which can be re-purposed on many different ways, eliminating the petroleum issue almost entirely. Has the rain been enough to relieve the drought in the Northwest? I’ve lost track of how much more is needed, but trust it will come before spring. Happy weekend 😉 WG

        1. California has suffered more by drought conditions than Oregon. Our concerns are with the snow-pack in the Cascades. Snow is usually measured in feet this time of year… but, at the moment, it’s being measured in inches… Mount Hood is looking a bit rocky and the lodge parking lot and roofs are clear of snow. Not a good sign. We will most likely have water conservation guidelines this summer.

          1. No, not a good sign at all. But I know it can snow right through March or April in the Cascades. I hope it comes- just not all at once ! We’re sad to hear of the problems around Seattle this weekend from rain. We just need these weather patterns to even out and not go to the extremes. Best wishes, WG

            1. I may head over to our little local history museum to see an exhibit about David Douglas…
              You relax this weekend, too. Sounds like you had a very unsettling experience with your content being stolen. Glad that has been resolved. How weird and scary.

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