The Trash Bag Epiphany
by Susan Joyner, Gainesville Florida
On Tuesday, I was standing in an aisle at the grocery store, looking at all the choices for trash bags. I don't like the smelly ones. I guess the correct term would be "scented," but to me they are just smelly. I looked up and noticed a box of trash bags made from 65% recycled plastic. What an excellent idea! I often wonder what happens to all of the items put in recycling bins. Then I checked out the price. There were considerably fewer bags in the box, and they cost 10 cents more per bag. Sadly, I proceeded to buy my usual bags. But on the drive home, I started thinking more about trash bags and the reasoning that led to my decision.
I am concerned about the environment. I sort my trash and recycle what I can. I carry reusable bags when I go shopping. I avoid using those flimsy plastic bags for fresh fruit or vegetables. On the broad continuum of environmentally-friendly behavior, I like to think that I am somewhere in the middle. Obviously I can't even come close to the Johnson family whose solid trash for a year fits inside of a 1-liter mason jar. Honestly, I am still quite stunned that a family of four could even accomplish that feat. But I do what I can to make an effort to help the environment on a daily basis.
yet, the other day at the grocery store, I bought the trash bags that
were less expensive. Does that mean that I am failing my environmental
responsibilities? While some of you are nodding yes, I am hoping that
others are realizing that I am on a journey and have not yet arrived at
Since this trash bag-purchasing episode, I have begun to realize that every single thing I choose to buy with my money and my reasons for choosing it speak volumes about my real priorities in life. I have also realized that even though I don't see all of the trash that is generated by our society, the environmental impact is a concern of mine. Great enough for me to spend a little extra money next time and buy the bags that are made from recycled plastic. And so I take another step forward.
My epiphany regarding trash bags has made me look more closely at my reasons for purchasing items, and I have, therefore, become more aware of using my money as a vote of support. What do your purchases say about you? There's no judgment here. Journey on.