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!

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