Friday, November 7, 2008

Bag Talk

I had a Zola party at my house the other day, and the best part about these gatherings is the discussions that we have regarding ideas on how to make our lives more eco-friendly. One of the talking points came up as we were discussing using cloth/reuseable bags for our purchases. Some people want to keep getting paper bags from the grocery store because they then reuse them for their dog's poo or their cat's litter. Having cats myself, I completely understand.

There are a couple of things here... with some help from a friend, I found out that paper bags thrown into landfills are the #1 source of methane pollution. Yuck!! On the other hand, my Dad informed me that there is at least one landfill (in Corvallis, Oregon) that is using that methane to produce usable energy (so cool). However, since not all landfills are utilizing this yet, it is best to minimize the quantity of paper bags thrown into landfills.

Zola does sell biodegradable doggie doo bags made from corn. The good news is that they biodegrade fast and don't sit in the landfill for ages. The bad news is that this country relies on corn for too many things (food, ethanol, corn products, and the worst, HFCS (high frutcose corn syrup)).

So there is no easy solution but to do the best you can. My solution? Whenever I get small paper bags, like from buying bread, bringing home potatoes or other fruits and vegetables, etc., I save them to reuse for cleaning my cat's litter box. So yes, I am using paper which goes into the landfill, but these particular paper bags are MUCH smaller than using a big paper grocery bag. So I continue to use my awesome cloth bags for groceries and other purchases, and reuse the paper bags that end up coming home with me, anyway.

Psst... Zola parties are fun! We have lots of discussions of this type. Let me know if you want to have one... :)

This here is my FAVORITE bag. I keep 2 of these in my purse at all times and whip them out whenever I need a bag (shopping, library, instant diaper bag, place to put unwanted coats, hats, etc.) Since these have been in my purse, I don't think I have brought any plastic or paper bags home...


Rebekah said...

Wow. I hadn't even thought about the dog poop. What I always think about is our weekly kitchen garbage bag, which is plastic. Because even on a mostly-recyclable week, we still come up with one bag of funky stuff. I know you've posted about reducing your kitchen garbage a lot, but we've never been able to get past that one bag between the 4 of us.

SUV Mama said...

Awesome idea on the kitty litter. Bread bags are perfect for that, and I've never saved them for that purpose..but I will now!

Hedro said...

Another thing bread bags are good for, is if you have a CSA, since they don't usually provide bags for produce. I save those, (and also the bags I get from the store to buy fruit, since the CSA is vegetables only,) and so do the other ladies in our pick up group. Works out great!

Those little bags that fit in your purse are also a GREAT idea! :-)