Random Thoughts | Suzanne Johnson

Trying to help
Do you ever feel you are being penalized for trying to do your part in helping eliminate waste? By trying new ideas to cut down on pollution?
I have nothing against using cloth bags when shopping. My problem is that I get into a store and start checking out before I realize I have left the bags in my vehicle or worse yet, at home. If at all possible, I don’t accept a bag for my purchases. But, I don’t agree that the consumer should be frowned upon when they do choose to use either paper or plastic when checking out. I personally reuse the bags. On the back of my garbage bill general information number four states, "All garbage must be in plastic bags.” Since plastic bags are required for my garbage, why am I penalized by the store if I use a bag from them to carry the purchased bags from the store? Some stores charge up to 10¢ if you choose to use one of their plastic grocery bags. The bag is flimsy enough that I would hope it doesn’t take much additional time to decompose as the ones I have just purchased.
Why do we have a controversy over using drinking straws? Perhaps all straws should be made out of a paper that decomposes rather than out of a plastic material. If I remember correctly, they used to be all paper.
I also was a bit dismayed when I received the notice to renew the license plates for my RAV4. Because my vehicle is a hybrid, I am being charged an additional $75 per year to renew the registration. Yes, I wrote "additional.” The $75 is on top of the already-being-charged renewal cost. Am I being penalized because I am trying to do the right thing in saving energy? Are the oil companies behind this penalty? Or, could it just be, the state needs more money in road tax? Do they realize we paid extra money to purchase a hybrid in order to save fuel and reduce emissions? Sounds like the conscientious consumer is the one that is losing out.
I recycle. I don’t know how all my recycled items have been reused. I do know that the carpet I’ve had in my living room for 23 years is made out of recycled milk jugs. While wandering through a clothing store one day, I noticed the tag on a sweater stated it was made out of recycled plastic. I didn’t purchase the garment because in my mind it sounded like it might get too hot to wear. Just my mindset, I am sure. I have also seen toys indicating they, too, are made out of recycled materials.
I admit it does seem that we have become a throwaway society. Part of it is because we have a lot more conveniences than previous generations. We can’t help it when items we purchase have been overpackaged because of theft. This leads me to another one of my frustrations. I am discouraged that I am unable to make purchases because stores no longer carry much inventory. Perhaps when everything is purchased online they won’t have to create as much garbage from overpackaging items. Then again, what about the materials used to ship the items? I don’t have the answers. I am just trying to do my part to help and sometimes getting frustrated in the process.
Suzanne can be reached at [email protected]

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