No more plastic!

Author : teriann

It’s been a few months since the ban on plastics have been enforced and I just wanted to share my thoughts on the experience.  At first it wasn’t too bad as there were still stores that had plastic bags even after the ban so it seemed the same.

Then after a few weeks they started to run short until ultimately there were no more plastic bags for your groceries.

Goodbye plastic bags
Like most Jamaicans, I have a stash of bags of various sizes that could easily be used to pack groceries.  The problem is the bags are usually at home and not with me when I am shopping.

Sometimes I just go shopping for one item so I think that it will be okay and I won’t need the bags.
Unfortunately when I start shopping, somehow one item becomes six or seven and now as I make my way to the cashier I wonder how will I get all these groceries to the car.

I know that I am not the only one that this has happened to as persons often past me struggling with their purchases as we both obviously were not prepared for this shopping trip.

Cost
Besides the lack of preparation, the other challenge of having no more plastic bags is that several stores have started a thriving business of selling bags.

Even paper bags which were previously offered to customers for free for certain items are now attracting a cost.
We never paid for the plastic bags in the past and often we even got double bags if the items were heavy, so why are we being charged for the alternative paper bags?

Well it might be of course that plastic is cheaper to produce. So stores have begun selling their alternatives from cloth bags to paper bags.

Let’s talk about those bags they sell.  Those cloth shopping bags are often in various colours with designs or plain and sell for between $120 to $150. The quality of the bags vary.Some bags are so flimsy that they can not be used to carry heavy items.

In fact once my groceries fell through the bag as I lifted it off the counter. I was given a new one and advised not to put too many items in the bag.  It seems to me though, that if this had happened on the street or in a bus it could have been so much worse.

Boxes are usually free but you have to be careful with those as well as I have seen groceries come crashing down when placed in boxes because the bottom was not properly secured.

Advantages
Despite the inconvenience of taking my own bags when shopping, I do appreciate the sound reasoning behind the move.  Plastic bags do not decompose as other types of materials and remain toxic to our environment years after their usefulness has ended.

The major issue with using alternative methods relate to being prepared and taking your own bags.  Invest in good quality bags and you won’t have to worry about your items falling out.  Since it’s a one time purchase it’s important to buy bags that can withstand the weight of many items.

There are also freezer bags available  with compartments to separate the cold items from the other items and ensure that there is no cross contamination of food.

Store a few shopping bags in your car so that if your quick stop turns into more purchases at least your bags are nearby. Remember to keep them clean and dry for your next shopping trip.

So what’s your take on the issue? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley
Gleaner online write

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