I haven't been frequenting the grocery store since I moved into my place. It's not quite as convenient as before and I'm often out working or doing the other things that I do. It was therefore quite a shock to me, and extremely discomforting, to experience it again.
Since I came home for the holidays, I've been doing grocery shopping with my sister. Apart from the stress of squeezing ourselves through the sea of humanity in every aisle and waiting at cashiers' lines, I feel guilty every time we bring home those plastic grocery bags.
I'm not carrying along here as a champion of environment or whatever. Gahd, I do believe that I'm far from that. But still, I've made this promise to myself way back that I'm going to try my damn best to lessen my carbon footprint. And I've really thought I've been making progress on that. Until this time.
It's kind of not easy to tell the cashier not to put the stuff in those plastic bags. I realized it's different when I'm shopping just for myself. I can easily fit what I buy in my bag. And since I don't frequent the grocery, I forgot how convenient it is to ignore a personal cause and just allow old habits to resurface.
All the visits to the grocery in the past week gave us quite a stock of plastic bags. At this time, I'm really not much interested on how others choose to walk the land of the living. What I'm interested in is the fact that what I've done doesn't sit well with me. It made me think that it's easy to rationalize everything in the name of convenience. I can excuse my behavior on account of inconvenience. How else can I bring all that grocery stuff home if I don't let my using those plastic bags slide? I can say that I don't need to feel guilty because I'm not an environmentalist and that I don't even know squat of what being Green means.
But the thing is, I can rationalize all I want and yet that something that doesn't feel quite right would just sit there. I can choose to ignore it, block it from my mind, and go on with my life. But it's still going to be there. And whatever it is that sitting there also knows everything I've seen and experienced in my life.
So, how am I going to forget those months I spent in The Hague where I experienced just how most Dutch do their grocery shopping? How can I forget those times I brought shopping bags whenever we needed to buy stuff from the grocery or at the open market? How can I ignore the memories of respect for those people who have made such a habit out of it? How can I pretend that it can't be done? I'm such a wuss.
And here's something I found on the Internet. This will remind and perhaps inspire me that I maybe a wuss, but I could be that wuss who'll always try to keep a promise.
Excerpt from The Daily Green's 2009 New Year's Resolutions: Make Green a Habit
Do you opt for paper or plastic when at the grocery store? Neither is a good choice. Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the 88.5 billion plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. And it takes four times more energy to make paper bags.
The best choice is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, meshlike plastic. Put a few reusable shopping bags in your car so you have them handy on your next shopping trip. And if you happen to forget your reusable bag (as we all do!), choose paper if you will recycle it or plastic if you will reuse or recycle it.
(All images are from The Daily Green.)