Mar 31, 2016

#SkipTheBag Challenge

plastic free

By now you know how wasteful and polluting plastic bags can be. I'd like to challenge you to refuse plastic bags while out shopping, or anytime really. Some options on how to accomplish this are:
  1. Decide if you need a bag at all. Many times if you are just running in for a quick errand you only have a few items you may be able to just carry the items out.
  2. Get reusable bags you like. I used to have large square ones that I would stash in my car. That way even if I forgot to bring them into the store I could run out to the parking lot to grab them. Think of it as bonus exercise and saving the planet. Now, I use ones that fold up and fit in my purse. I don’t carry a huge purse, but the bags are pretty small and it means I am never without a bag.
  3. Use paper. While paper bags have fallen out of favor, some grocery stores still carry them. The paper bags are often made from recycled paper and can be further recycled.
  4. What to do if you slip up and get a plastic bag? Recycle it! Unfortunately plastic bags aren’t allowed in most curbside recycling programs, but many grocery and big box stores have recycling bins. They are typically near the entrance of the store, in a cardboard box. Look around next time you are in one. I saved up all my bags in one of them and when it was full I would take it back to the store.

How to participate in the #skipthebag challenge?

  1. Follow SkipTheBag on Twitter/Instagram/Google+/Facebook
  2. Skip the bag! When you are out shopping don’t accept a plastic bag. Use a reusable bag or just hand carry the items.
  3. Spread the word! Tell us your experience or post a photo using the hashtag #skipthebag.
  4. Feel great knowing you did something good for the environment.
Update: Do you live in an area with a ban bag or have you been carrying your own bag for years? Have you progressed to level two or three of the #skipthebag challenge?

Mar 28, 2016

Recycling Programs: Hawaii, Florida, Oregon

Recycling Programs

We’ve lived many different places and it is very interesting to see how different cities handle their waste. I grew up in the Portland Metro Area in the Northwest where there was a culture of recycling and bottle deposits and caring for the environment. When I moved to Florida it was a bit of culture shock to see how different things were. (I talked about Oregon so much my friends called my comparisons Oregon-isms!) Well Oregon has continued to grow in their conservation efforts. So today I’m going to share the sanitation services (garbage, recycling, yard/compost) of Kailua, Hawaii and Pensacola, Florida to those of Portland, Oregon.

Recycling Bins Photo courtesy of Terence Ong


Kailua has weekly trash services with yard and recycling pick-up every other week. They provide gray bins for trash, blue for recycling, and green for yard waste. In the recycling container they allow numbers 1 and 2 plastics, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, paper bags, glass bottles and jars, and metal cans. They do not allow plastics numbered 3-7, magazines, other glossy paper, or cereal/cracker boxes. They yard waste is for grass and tree trimmings. The trash can is for everything else. Hawaii has a 5 cent bottle deposit on most of their beverage containers to try and encourage people to return their bottles to the store, but the others can be recycled if they meet the requirements.


Pensacola has weekly sanitation services. They provide black bins for trash and brown bins for recyclable items. Yard waste is also picked up weekly, but they ask that items are placed on the side of the road (not in a bin). Items like branches are just put in a pile and they have a crane which picks up the debris and loads it into the truck. They just sent out a letter requesting that customers no longer put smaller debris like leaves or lawn clippings in plastic bags, but rather use paper or compostable bags.

The brown bin is for recyclable materials. They collect plastic bottles labeled 1 through 7, glass of any color, papers including magazines and phone books, cardboard boxes including cereal boxes, and aluminum cans. They do not recycle Styrofoam, waxed paper milk or juice containers or loose paper bags. However, their recycling program has been suspended because the third-party recycling processor that was contracted to the city has shut down. Escambia County Utility Association (ECUA) is building it's own plant to process which should become available later in 2016. No word on what materials they will continue to accept once the new facility is completed, but right now all waste is slated for the landfill. :(


Portland has some major differences in their sanitation services. They have weekly recycling, composting, and glass pick up. However, they have garbage pickup only every two or four weeks. They also have different size garbage cans for you. The fee you pay for sanitation is based on the size of garbage can you have and how frequently you have it picked up.

Portland allows all paper products including juice and milk cartons, shredded paper, and phone books. It accepts all plastic containers regardless of number as long as the neck is smaller than the base and it is at least 6 ounces in size. It accepts all tubs (think yogurt containers) as long as they are larger than 6 ounces. It even allows plastic buckets that are 5 gallons or smaller! They do not accept plastic bags, plastic lids, or rigid plastic containers “clamshells”.  They also collect bits of scrap metal, such as lids, screws and nails in addition to items like tin foil and aerosol cans. In the yellow glass container any glass bottle or jar of any color is allowed. It does not allow for drinking glasses or broken glass. Portland also has a 5 cent bottle deposit on beverages which further encourages bottle turn in.

Despite their large expansion into what items are recyclable the most novel in Portland is their use of a compost bin. The compost bin includes yard debris similar to that allowed in the other locations, but Portland also encourages its residents to dispose of food waste in the compost bin. Any meat, fish, dairy, grain, fruit or vegetable product can be disposed of in this container. Even coffee grounds and filters, pizza boxes and paper towels can be put in this bin. Things not allowed in the compost bin are pet waste/cat litter, coffee cups, plastics labeled compostable (except for approved bags), dirt, or branches over 4 inches. All other items which do not fall into the recycling, glass or compost bins would go into the trash bin. You can see how with such expansive recycling capabilities they are able to go to bimonthly trash pickup.

Ideally most locations would try and model their recycling programs after those in Portland. However note none of the locations allow recycling of plastic bags. The best way is to #skipthebag so you prevent its use in the first place. But most grocery and big box stores have boxes in the front which collect plastic bags to be recycled. So if you get a bag, recycle it!

What is curbside recycling like where you live?

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Recycling Programs: Hawaii, Florida, Oregon

Mar 24, 2016

Impromptu Beach Cleanup

Casino Beach at Pensacola Beach
A couple of weeks ago on my day off I decided to hold an impromptu beach cleanup. It was a beautiful day and I just needed to feel the sand between my toes and the sun on my skin. So I headed down to the beach with my bag and decided I would wander around and pick up whatever trash I could find. I also wanted to see how dirty our beach was. We are known for having beautiful white beaches and were even ranked in the top beaches by Trip Advisor.

The total haul from the day

I wasn’t even out of the parking lot when I started finding trash. However when I first stepped onto the sand I realized that they comb the beach. I was afraid that meant that I wouldn’t be able to find much trash. However walking along the beach up by the dunes I found more than I wanted. I was also struck by how many trash cans there were. They definitely want to make it easy for people to throw away their trash rather than leave it on the beach, but there were many items that you could tell were left or blew away from their owners and didn’t make it into the trash.

All together I spent about an hour and a half wandering down the beach and I made a haul. There were Mardi Gras beads from weeks earlier, over 70 straws, 20 plastic lids, two straps for boards,  various pieces of plastic in different shapes, sizes and colors, and of course some plastic bags. Looking at the haul I was struck by several things.

First, the lack of bags. There are so many plastic bags being handed out, do we really do that great of a job cleaning them up and keeping them off of the beach? No, they just likely are blown away either. Most of the items I picked up had some weight to them so they would bury in the sand or be taken out to sea. The bags I found were up caught in the foliage in the dunes. One strong gust and they would be out in the water and out to sea.

Second, I was shocked by how many straws I found. It makes sense with the number of bars that serve drinks with straws, but I wasn’t expecting to find over seventy! Most of them I found right outside the restaurants themselves. Don’t they have people to help keep their grounds clean? The water was 200 yards away! And apparently there is a video out there of a sea turtle with a straw up his nose and humans helping him to get it out. I don’t want to watch it because people have said it’s graphic, but that’s up to 70 turtles I prevented from having that fate.

Third, I was surprised how difficult it was to tell the difference between plastic and shell. Often the inside of a shell would be smooth and look like a piece of plastic. Once I flipped it over it was easy to see it was a shell, but other times I had to really look to tell it was a shell. If I can’t tell the difference there is no way an unsuspecting marine animal could tell. Obviously this was with white plastic, It was quite easy to notice little bits of blue, purple and yellow weren’t natural. However, fish, drawn to bright colors might mistake the plastic for a tasty treat.

Finally, I was struck by how easy it was. Just go to the beach, wander around and pick up anything that isn’t sand, shell or wood. You don’t even have to go to the beach to help clean the environment, go to a local park or even your own yard and start picking up things that don’t belong. And remember to #skipthebag when out shopping.

Bits of plastic found during beach cleanup

Mar 21, 2016

Why I'm grateful I care about plastic bags

I had a realization tonight that I am really fortunate in my life that I can have and take the opportunity to care about plastic bags. I reminded me of things my husband has said about Monsanto. He says that Americans can boycott Monsanto and think they are evil because we have such an abundance of food. In countries where people are literally starving to death, the crops they make are lifesavers. I quickly saw parallels to these sentiments and Maslow's hierarchy of needs. 

Maslow's hierarchy of needs has 5 steps: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. It argues that each need must be fulfilled before really being able to move on to the next. Physiological needs relate to food and shelter. I might argue that forbidding the use of plastic bags or trying to minimize plastic waste for the global good would fall under the highest need; that of self actuation. Self actuation is where you try to live life according to our highest principles and strongest desires. "What a man can be, he must be" Maslow wrote about self actuation.


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs by FireflySixtySeven

Let me try and illustrate it with a recent example from my own life. I arrived in Florida about six weeks before my husband to start my full time job. I was in a new town where I knew only a few people, starting a new job, apart from my husband, and 'camping' at my friend’s house. I call it camping, because while I was able to stay at my friend's house, all she had left was a bed. I was able to bring some of my own stuff, but space was limited so I basically brought along a card table, four folding chairs, four piece settings, some pots and pans, and my clothes. During this time when I had very little of my creature comforts I frequently relied on prepared food from the grocery store. Cut up fruit, bagged salad, and frozen chicken breasts all wrapped in plastic. To me the convenience of it was far more important than the environmental impact.

It wasn't until I got more comfortable in my surroundings, and read up more about the plastic free movement, that my eyes were opened to the environmental impact of the decisions I was making. I desired to make a change. But a lot of it took time and resources I just didn't have while 'camping'. Sure, I used my reusable bag while grocery shopping, but I couldn't grow a garden to prevent getting vegetables wrapped in plastic. And yes, I did an impromptu beach cleanup, but I couldn't start a compost bin for my veggie scraps. Now some of it was just excuses, but it could also be argued that my more basic needs weren't being met as readily.  

Reading blogs about people using less plastic and having zero waste helped to encourage me and show me options beyond the usual. But I was fortunate to have the time to find and explore those resources. People with busier lives, either through necessity or choice may not have the same time to devote to the information. This is why we need to make the choice with the greatest benefit the easiest choice. 

Right now automatically bagging everything in plastic bags is the easiest choice. You don't even have to talk to the cashier or bagger and it will happen. But what happens if we make that switch be paper bags? What happens when people have reusable bags that are easy to use? I would assume if you are reading this you are at a point in your life where you can afford the luxury of caring about the planet. So what are you doing to show your gratitude? 

Mar 12, 2016

Florida Law Banning the Ban

Bans against plastic bags are illegal in Florida. Yep, you read that correctly, the very thing that Hawaii and California have passed to reduce plastic bag consumption is illegal in Florida. Additionally plastic bag fees such as those enacted in Washington, DC and New York City are similarly illegal.

"Until such time that the Legislature adopts the recommendations of the department, no local government, local governmental agency, or state government agency may enact any rule, regulation, or ordinance regarding use, disposition, sale, prohibition, restriction, or tax of such auxiliary containers, wrappings, or disposable plastic bags." Title 29, Chapter 403, Section 7033 of Florida law states.

Recently there have been a number of bills presented to reverse the ban. Some simply proposed a pilot program in communities with fewer than 100,000 people to collect data. Others were fairly aggressive calling for taxation on paper bags as well as allowing local governments statewide to prohibit the use of plastic bags. Subsequent years have tried eliminating plastic bag taxation or narrowing the ability to ban plastic bags to coastal areas. However even with these compromises no bills have been passed altering the prohibition on plastic bag bans.

One potential reason for the push back in favor of plastic bags is that there are plastic bag manufacturers located in Jacksonville and Orlando. The companies likely have lobbyists working in their favor. Additionally it is much harder to pass a law that will affect the jobs of your constituents. One of the manufacturers in Jacksonville employs approximately 100 people.

The difficulty in combating lobbyists and/or businesses is why I decided to focus #SkipTheBag primarily on the public’s refusal of plastic bags. If no one needed a plastic bag, stores wouldn’t carry them and they wouldn’t end up polluting the environment. Therefore take the #skipthebag challenge and refuse plastic bags. You can also move to level two or three of SkipTheBag for an added challenge.

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Mar 10, 2016

FAQ about #SkipTheBag

Thinking about eliminating plastic bags from your life? I bet you have some questions about what that means. Most people present questions as a way of proposing their way of using plastic bags are OK. I recycle them, I reuse them, I need them for dog poop! Well here are some solutions and reasons why that might not be best.

Can’t they be recycled?

Yes, plastic bags can be recycled, or maybe more accurately downcycled.  They are then converted into composite lumber or possibly back into more bags. However they generally aren't accepted as part of curbside recycling so they will have to be taken back to the store.  If you obtain a plastic bag it is best to recycle it, but it’s even better to just #SkipTheBag. Statistics show that only about 14% of plastic bags are recycled. So the argument that they could be recycled doesn't overcome the very real environmental impact the bags do have. 

Great Blue Heron Swallows Fish in Plastic Bag by Andrea Westmoreland

Can I still use them as trash can liners?

Re-using plastic bags is OK. However I urge you to question your dependence on trash can liners. I had been using plastic bags in my bathroom as trash can liners, but I found I didn’t really need them. I would empty them into my trash can weekly and then simply wipe down the trash container. I also took care not to purposely throw away offensive items into my bathroom trash. So it was generally just paper products, tissue, q-tips, feminine supplies and packaging. If you need to keep a liner in there, see if you can reuse it for an extra week or not change it out so frequently. Also with regard to kitchen trash if you are composting you likely won't need a liner either. 

What about dog poop?

This was one that had crossed my mind when the ban bag was started in Hawaii. Thankfully I still had TONS of leftover bags from before the ban. I would collect them to recycle, but just never quite got around to taking them back to the store. However, I didn’t move that bag of plastic bags to Florida with me so it is now more of a concern.

In our own yard we don’t use plastic bags. We have a pooper scooper*  so we can easily go around and pick up the poop. It’s my favorite because there is no risk of my hand accidentally touching the poop or feeling the warmth of fresh excrement (icky!). I'd love to eventually get a pet septic tank*, but we aren't there yet.  Now carrying a huge claw isn’t always practical when going on walks, so in that case we carry plastic produce or bread bags. We occasionally forget our reusable produce bags* when shopping and have yet to start making all of our bread products. Before there were plastic bags, people would use newspaper to pick up excrement.

What questions do you have about #skipthebag?

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Mar 9, 2016

The Hawaii Bag Ban

Naturally everyone was worried. Plastic bags were to be banned on Oahu beginning July 1, 2015 and plastic bags could be found everywhere. How were people going to manage a life without plastic bags? Probably like how the other islands had done it.

About a year before the plastic bag ban was set to go into effect I stumbled across a group called Plastic Free Hawaii. They had a booth set up outside of the local Whole Foods talking about the dangers of plastic bags. They also were handing out reusable plastic bags, for free, for those who signed the pledge not to use plastic bags.

Well who doesn’t love a free reusable bag?! In addition this bag was different from the reusable bags I was used to seeing. Typically I’ve seen big bags that fold down to the size of a 9x9 square. Not exactly convenient to carry with you, but these* ones are really cute! However this one was made of a bag that could scrunch down and fit into a bag about the size of a sunglasses case, similar to these*. Best yet, it didn’t have some specific way to fold it up, the carrying pouch was large enough that I could just scrunch the bag in and it would fit. (Want to read more about my plastic bag journey?)

So I threw it in my purse and when I was in a grocery store I would use that instead of some or all of the plastic bags I would normally get. The bag was also washable, so if something spilled in it I could either wipe it down or just throw it in the laundry. The bag held up with pretty rigorous use for nearly a year when some of the stitching started to come out and I upgraded to another bag.

The ability to carry the bag in my purse was huge in my ability to actually use the bag. I just always kept it in there for when it was needed. When the bag ban started, there was really little that changed for us because we’d been using our reusable bags so much. A new Target store was built in Kailua shortly before the ban was to be in place and they simply never carried plastic bags. It was simpler to do that than start with plastic and swap over a month or two later.

So how did life change when the bag ban went into effect? Not by much. We were already in the habit of bringing our own bags. Besides, the law is actually pretty narrow in its coverage. The ban only applies to single-use plastic checkout bags. What you normally thing of as the plastic bag when you go to a grocery store.

However there are a whole list of bags that are still allowed, including those you would find at a grocery store. They include the bags you use for fruit and meat found in the produce or butcher areas, but also the bags you find in the floral department or get from the pharmacy. Laundry or dry cleaning bags and bags from restaurants or take-out establishments were still allowed. There was still a plethora of plastic to be found, just not at the register of a grocery store.

Furthermore the law states that checkout bags must be one of 3 things: recyclable paper, compostable. or reusable. Sounds great, right?

Paper bags that are 100% recyclable are generally made from at least 40% recycled materials. Compostable means that they can biodegradable, albeit possibly only in commercial composting facilities. That leaves reusable bags, like the one I had. Well there is a small caveat in this part of the law. Reusable was defined as a bag made of cloth, washable fabric, or other durable material including plastic that is 2.25 mil thick. So there were a few companies that still handed out plastic bags…they just handed out thicker bags (fail!). However in general companies went with paper bags and many more patrons were bringing their own.

Would you be worried to hear a plastic bag ban is coming to where you live? Have you taken the #SkipTheBag challenge? If you live in an area with a bag ban have you progressed to Level 2 or 3 of #SkipTheBag?

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Mar 5, 2016

How I'm Doing On 5 Easy Ways To Use Less Plastic

This site uses affiliate links (disclosure). If you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission which is used to help fund this blog. The price to you is unchanged. 

I saw this list of 5 easy ways to use less plastic and I thought I’d see how I was doing.

1. Ditch the bottled water.

This is the area where I excel. Hubby and I both have reusable water bottles that we use so we don’t need to buy single use plastic bottles. I have 2 one liter CamelBak eddy* that I use at home, and a 750ml one that I keep at work. As a bonus I picked up the one I use at work from a thrift store so I’m sort of even salvaging that.

Now I know that while I am preventing the use of probably thousands of single use plastic bottles due to using a reusable I understand that my bottle is still plastic. There are more and more plastic free water bottles on the market which are a great option if you are in search of a water bottle. However it doesn’t make much sense for me to trash mine, a perfectly good water bottle, just because it is made from plastic, the very thing I’m trying to conserve. My husband has a Hydroflask* which I will consider when my water bottle need replacing. It has a vacuum seal insulation so it keeps ice cold for up to 24 hours and hot beverages hot for up to 12 hours.

HydroFlask- A Reusable Waterbottle

2. Rethink the Tupperware.

Several years ago my husband and I were overflowing with plastic food storage containers. I decided that I wanted to use glass so we purchased some of the Anchor* and Pyrex* containers. I love them. The 2 cup ones are great for taking lunch in. The larger ones are great for storing food. When we finally ditched the plastic containers for good we had an entire 2 foot by 2 foot box full of them! Now the lids on the containers are still plastic, so I’m not 100% plastic free, but it is a vast improvement. An added bonus is that they last a really long time and don’t get stained or warped like plastic can.

Pyrex glass containers to reduce plastic use

3. Make your own bath and body products.

This is one area I’m not currently tackling. I’ve tried to go ‘no poo’ using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for my hair, but ended up going back to shampoo. I do generally use coconut oil to wash my face and as a moisturizer but that’s about the only non traditional thing I do. However I bought a small (plastic) bottle of castile soap and a large (plastic) bottle of vinegar with the intention of making other household cleaners, but they have sat for nearly a month unopened. Once we get moved, though I hope to make more homemade cleaners.

Shampoo bar if you aren't ready to make your own cleaners yet.

4. Bring your own bags/containers.

I obviously #skipthebag when it comes to checking out of stores, but I don’t have reusable produce bags or bulk bags. So there are still some improvements I can make in this regard. I’m thinking about buying these muslin* or these mesh* produce bags.

To carry items so you don't have to use a plastic bag.

5. Buy in bulk.

Thiis is another area where I need to improve. The author of the list was referring to buying larger containers of things to reduce the amount of packaging, but also buying from bulk bins. I would say I don’t shy away from buying in bulk, but not with an eye to packaging. Toilet paper is one example. Some large packages are simply wrapped 4 packs of toilet paper wrapped together. It would use less waste to simply buy the smaller packs.

Buying from bulk bins is a little more tricky. To be honest I haven’t really been on the lookout for bulk bins because I still haven't moved into my house, so I’ve only found bulk bins a couple of places. The first is The Fresh Market they have bulk bins but it is primarily for nuts and other snacks, items that I don’t use very frequently. A local international store, Four Winds, however has several bins from olives to chickpeas to flours. So I will definitely be utilizing them! Once I’ve got all my glass jars unpacked, and reusable bulk bags maybe I’ll tour some of the other international stores and traditional grocery stores to see what bulk items they have available.

Toilet paper wrapped in paper, not plastic

So all together I’m definitely making progress in my plastic free life, but there is still room for improvement. How are you doing in these 5 areas?

Looking for even more ways to reduce your plastic use? The bathroom is one area that can create a lot of waste and you not even realize it. Click to read about some simple plastic free swaps can be made in the bathroom.

Image of razor, shampoo bar and shower.
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Mar 3, 2016

Why do we worry about plastic bags?

Why Do We Worry About Plastic Bags

There are a number of reasons why plastic bags are the focus of so much ire. For some, it is the volume of plastic bags. The Earth Policy Institute states that we use roughly one trillion single use plastic bags every year...that equates to 2 million each minute!  Others feel our ubiquitous use of plastic bags is a symptom of our disposable culture. They use plastic bags to highlight how far the pendulum has swung towards disposable items.

Photo by Siike Baron Daisy Eating a Plastic Bag
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For many others however it is the environmental impact that they are most concerned with. Plastic bags are made from oil and natural gas, neither of which are renewable resources. According to the Earth Policy Institute the energy it takes to make 12 bags would drive a car one mile. Combining that with the above statistic the amount of energy spent on making plastic bags would drive a car around the circumference of the earth more than 3,000 times!

Finally, plastic bags never fully break down or decompose. Plastic just becomes broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. This is a concern for wildlife in that many consume the bits of plastic mistaking them for food. They cannot digest the plastic and may ultimately die. Animals Australia estimates that more than 100,000 turtles, whales, seals, sea birds, and other animals die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastics. They also estimate that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of the world’s oceans.
Pin to help spread the word about the dangers of plastic bags!
Some of the dangers of plastic bags.

While plastic bags can be recycled in theory it is thought that 97% or more are not recycled. Many times plastic bags are excluded from curbside recycling. However many stores have collection boxes in their entry way to collect used plastic bags for recycling. The bags are recycled into composite lumber or to make new bags. If you happen to get a plastic bag, be sure to recycle it, but better yet take the #SkipTheBag challenge.

Mar 1, 2016

Skip The Bag

Welcome to Skip The Bag!

My husband and I moved to Oahu, Hawaii in about a year before Oahu started their ban on single use plastic bags in July 2015. Other islands had ‘bag bans’ for longer, but Oahu was the final hold out. They touted a number of reasons for the ban, but protecting the wildlife and habitat of the islands was chief among them. We were obviously given a lot of notice the bag ban was going to occur, but when the big day came, life didn’t end. We simply adapted to a life with fewer plastic bags.

Old home! Beach near Makapu'u lighthouse in Hawaii.

I started carrying a reusable bags in my purse that we used while shopping. We refused bags when only purchasing a few items. Which we did, because seriously sometimes getting the bag out of my purse was more hassle than just carrying the times (can we say laziness!). If we bought too many items there were paper bags available. But have you seen how much reusable bags can carry? 

Baggers are notorious for only putting an item or two into a plastic bag. I could fit the contents of 4 or 5 plastic bags in my two reusable bags! Most importantly baggers wouldn’t just mindlessly throw your stuff into a plastic bag. If you only had a few items they would ask if you needed a (paper) bag which also helps remind you to use your reusable bag.

About six months after the ban went into effect we moved back to Florida. I experienced a number of culture shocks upon returning to the mainland, but chief among them was the pervasiveness of plastic bags. Cashiers would automatically put my single item into a plastic bag rather than having me carry it out. They had carousels filled with hundreds of plastic bags at the end of their register waiting to end up in landfills (at best) and the stomachs of sea animals (at worst).

New home! Beach in Pensacola, Florida

Given my shock at the amount of plastic going to waste and my experiences living in a spot that had a bag ban, I wanted to get involved with a local group to help spread the word about how detrimental plastic bags can be, but I didn’t find any. I started doing some research on just how many plastic bags American’s use and the devastation they can cause. During my research I discovered that it is actually illegal to ban plastic bags in Florida and that’s when I got the idea to start Skip The Bag. Some powerful lobbyists must have rallied to pass that law and I’m not sure that a single person can combat that (although we are going to try!), so instead I wanted to instigate a movement where Floridians (and others!) simply refuse to use plastic bags. We cannot as easily affect the supply of the bags, but we can affect the demand.

So please join me on this journey of sharing facts about plastic bags and use the hashtag #SkipTheBag if you have refused a plastic bag or used a reusable bag!

This site uses affiliate links (disclosure). If you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission which is used to help fund this blog. The price to you is unchanged. 

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