Friday, August 27, 2010

Mexico years ahead in the green movement, sort of.

While shopping today and as the clerk rang up a small amount of groceries, two chicken legs, some lettuce, granola and a small basket of raspberries the bill came to about 26 dollars......

Yep 26 dollars, you gotta pay more for chicken that is free of hormones, chemicals and injected salt and excess fat.....

But that's not the topic here.

After I receive my pittance of change, I was asked the question " Paper or Plastic?"

Ok, I give up! I surrender!

I have shopped at this organic store and tried to support it over the years when we are visiting up here in this land of "Green".

But the land of "Green" is wacko. Typical North of the Border hypocrisy.

Now this is one of these stores that has 99 percent of their inventory is Organic, earth friendly, lots of hemp related items, organic homeopathic medicines, you get the picture.

I have tried to make less impact on the environment and try to my best do my part. Herein lies the problem.

Do I take a paper bag knowing that they are going to cut down swats of trees to make the bags or do I take a plastic bag that will float around the Pacific Ocean flotsam lasting years......
It has only become fashionable NOB to have your own bag that you schlep around for the groceries for the past 5 years or so. In Mexico they have been using owner operated plastic carry bags with industrial quality handles for years. Not 2, not 5, not 10 probably 20 or so at least.

I have using/buying these style of bags since my first shopping trek to the market in Puerto Vallarta about 35 years ago. But that was before cheap thin, put something into the bag and it will break through but not before carving a thin line in your hand, BAG.

In the states excess of bags has not been an issue until late.

Some stores have gone on the nickle and dime crusade, shaming people into bring their own bags by charging 5 cents each for a plastic bag, if you don't bring your own.
That takes a lot of moxie, you drop a hundred bucks at a store and they charge you 5 cents for a damn bag......

So they want to make it a real financial lesson for you!

Several stores that really want to make a "Change" actually will give out burlap bags to a customer if they ask for them. If you don't ask they sell them for a buck and change. They have them at the check out counter so everyone will look at you if you don't have a environmental friendly bag, so you wind up buying one as not to feel like you are singlehandedly sabotaging the environment

That way you can exit the store guilt free.
Some cities are putting a plastic bag tax on the books.

My only problem is that I have a drawer full of those great plastic carry bags in Mexico.

And I still have to buy one now and then because in my little way of supporting the local economy in Mexico I conveniently forget to take some half the time and wind up buying a new one.
So the choice is a paper bag that will destroy acres of trees or plastic bags that will not decompose and kill wildlife.
So, what would be the correct response?
Paper or Plastic?
I am glad that in Mexico people will usually simply use their Virgin or Freda plastic shopping bag.


Leslie Harris de Limon said...

I'm wondering if my small town will be following suit. We've been separating our trash since June. Not without complaint. But after a couple of months we all got the hang of it.

I have a large plaid bag, minus the Virgin or Freda for my everyday shopping. :)

Leah Flinn said...

I have almost given up at the supermarkets here.

When I go to them with my canvas bags and ask them to fill them up they always bag the goods in plastic first, despite my requests not to do so. Kind of defeats the purpose, no?

Tancho said...

Leslie, since we don't have trash pickup, we have been separating stuff for the compost pile, and the "other "stuff which we tote down to town. It is amazing how much stuff you can recycle....or at least control a little. Good for you!

Leah, changing genetic habits is pretty hard to do..I wish they would make disintegrating Coke bottles a priority along with the plastic bag. Canvas is pretty radical for Mexico...

Felipe said...

Try walking into Super Codallos or Bodega Aurrera or Soriana here in P√°tzcuaro with one of those bags. You´ll be stopped short by the security guard. It does work in the downtown mercado, of course.

They will let you in with one of those bags the supermarkets are selling for the purpose, but not the traditional plastic-weave bags. Shoplifting gear, you know. Makes not a lick of sense.

Leah: Insist. Were they to do that with me, I would (and have) physically removed the item from the plastic bag on the spot.

JerryL said...

You could just go shop with the wire basket with wheel things my grandmother had.

Steve Cotton said...

This is one reason I eat out -- a lot. Of course, there are a list of moral choices there, as well. We are about to become neurotic moral paraplegics.

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

Tancho - You have touched on one of my favorite topics. We all have to shop (well, except Mr. Cotton), so why do they make it so difficult? I used to take my cloth bags shopping in Guaymas and the workers looked at me like I was nuts. Well, maybe I am, but I still use them and it's a lot more common here in Seattle. Now if I could just get them to watch the documentary, Ready, Set, Bag!

Tancho said...

Jerry: I just don't think it would be possible to traverse the mercado with a wire basket in tow. I have often considered one, especially when buying a few melons, onions and a chicken or two...
Steve: Eating out is expensive..but then again your working again....Learn to cook, it's healthier..believe me!
Mike &'re lucky. They look at me like that all the time, even without bags.... NOB they make you fell guilty if you don't save the environment....