My World Ocean Day Wish – Kevin Z

"Plastic Bag Nightmare" by Flickr User Zainub.

I am absolutely horrible about remembering to bring in my cloth sacks to the grocery store. It is quite shameful too considering my background and years of training in marine science, ecology and conservation. They are always in the back of my car. I just walk out of my car and head right into the store not even thinking about the troubles that lie ahead! I get up to the cash register and unload my spoils. Then it dawns on me, I left my cloth sacks in the car. What to do? Do I make a big deal about and run to the car, holding up the register and irritate the people behind me? Do I purchase more cloth sacks to use, adding yet more to the collection amassed in the depths of my Outback? Or, do I suck it up and let the grocery clerks put 1 to 2 items in each plastic bag, amassing an even larger stockpile of plastic bags.

I know what you are thinking. Run to the car and get the cloth bags or buy some new ones. I used to buy new ones to use, but I have too many now. I give them away when I can! But alas, I an only american human and opt for the easy way out. I’m not proud of it, but each time I mess up I vow to do better. And I am getting better, remembering more. There is no reason we need to even have plastic bags around! They are bad news for the ocean from endangering wildlife to bioaccumulating in our seafood, eventually reaching us.

My World Ocean Wish is for everyone, including myself, to remember to bring their cloth bags to the store with them. Keep them in your car or somewhere easy. It is so important reduce our plastic footprint in the oceans. Don’t listen to the cynics who say that the damage is done. It doesn’t need to be done more!

8 Replies to “My World Ocean Day Wish – Kevin Z”

  1. My grocery store has a big sign out front saying “Did you bring your bags?” Which is useless, because I walk there.

  2. Something we should all be able to do. We do. What annoys me is when the cashier/bagger outs our meat which we have already put in a plastic bag into another before putting it in our canvas bag. Really, is that necessary, like the thick paper bag for ice cream?

  3. I solved it by having my cloth bag with me all the time in my backpack (that doesn’t live my side-ok, back-wherever I go). That being said, I rarely use it, because I do small time shopping (refrigerator is kind of small) I can usually fit everything in my backpack/pockets/hands.

  4. It definitely takes practice to remember. After two years, I am now programmed, like a robot, to think “canvas bags” immediately after I think “grocery store”. I still forget, maybe once a week, but then I ask for a paper bag. They don’t have those in NC?

  5. I often forget in the same pattern that you do.

    However, here in Toronto, retailers are now required to charge 5 cents for every plastic bag (and most are giving the proceeds to charities like WWF and EcoKids) and already it’s helping me remember.

    The city didn’t want it to be a tax, but an incentive to help people give up plastic. Ikea in Toronto is going to stop giving out plastic bags as an option starting in July.

  6. Talking of World Ocean Day – we celebrated it in London, and I put one of your tracks on the compilation we gave out for free to visitors of our event. Can I post one to you? Angela

  7. You need plastic bag origami!

    The folding is easy once you get the hang of it. Once folded, your plasitc bag:
    a) Can help revive your middle school habit of table football.

    b) Can be easily tucked into wallet, pocket or bag.

    c) Can be ready for use for dog poop/baby diapers/spontaneous beach clean up/long overdue car trash removal/GROCERY bag.

    Amazingly, a small stack of these tied with a ribbon and given to friends seems to elicit delight and happiness. It’s a nice way to get those extra plastic bags working again!

    For more plastic bag inspirations see:


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