Recycling is hardly a new idea

Published 6:51 pm Friday, February 21, 2020


Community columnist

I don’t know when it started, but it seems that everywhere I turn I am seeing something about the effects of plastic bags on the environment. For the most part, I take this stuff in vain and it goes in one ear and out the other. 

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It seems that every store that I go to now has cloth bags available for purchase to carry our items home in so that the plastic bags are not utilized. Most days, I consider it a win if I remember what items I actually came to purchase. Now, I am expected to remember to bring my own bags with me every time I go to the store? 

I was in line recently at the store waiting to pay for my items and I was behind two young men and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. They were talking about how important it was to not use the plastic bags because of their effect on the environment. They were wearing sandals and ponchos and they were wearing their hair in a bun, so I didn’t expect much from them to start with.

I had to smirk a bit when I saw them place their items, all packaged in plastic containers by the way, in their fancy recycled cloth bag. I had to chuckle a bit as my mind retreated in time to the 1980’s when I was a young man. I can remember returning the glass soda bottles to the grocery store each week where they would be cleaned and reused repeatedly. If that’s not friendly to the environment then I don’t know what is.

I can also remember our groceries being packed into those big brown paper bags, which were useful for so many things around the house. When I was young, the living room was the hub of activity as the family gathered to watch TV. Now, most every kid has their own TV in their room. That seems like a waste of electricity to me, although one the parents are probably willing to pay to have the living room to themselves. 

I will say on the record right now that when I go to the grocery store, I use the plastic bags. They are a cheapskate’s dream as they can be reused for trash-can liners and they do well at replacing bubble wrap when shipping a package. They also make great suitcases when going on an overnight trip and they serve well as lunchboxes.

Granted, this is minus the ones that didn’t make the cut and ripped before I got my items home. More than once, I have watched my 2-liters of Pepsi roll down the driveway after a bag gives way. I just stand there staring and feeling betrayed by the bag manufacturer and cursing under my breath. In no way is it my fault. I mean, why can’t a cheap plastic bag carry five 2-liters?

I think that the grocery plastic bag is being singled out. Virtually everything we buy from ketchup to salad dressing is packaged in plastic containers. However, the little plastic bag from the grocery store is where we draw the line? 

The new generation may think it is cool to jump on the recycling bandwagon as a new fad, but I can tell you we old people have been recycling for a long time. We are already upset about being old, so it don’t take much to push us over the edge. 


Jack Godbey is a resident of Danville and is a published author.