I’m blaming AJ for my plastic bag problem.

You see, when AJ was alive I would use all sorts of bags to put her waste in, not just the traditional poop bag one finds at parks and the like.

More than a month since she crossed the Rainbow Bridge I am struggling to figure what to do with all the plastic bags in my life. At least they aren’t bringing me to tears anymore. The morning after she was no longer here I started balling when I saw the empty quinoa bag. I had to throw it in the trash without first reusing it as a dog poop bag. Bags are still reminding me of her; and I know she would want me to do something other than be wasteful.

I considered myself resourceful when I found another use for these bags that once contained food. The poop had to go into something. I wasn’t going to put it directly into the garbage can.

Now, though, I’m realizing how much plastic I have. Long ago I stopped putting every piece of produce in a bag. Some, though, is still bagged, like fresh herbs, or when I’m buying several of the same thing, say carrots, avocadoes or apples.

I could change my shopping habits and find a store where I could bring my own container; something other than a plastic bag. This works for some goods like rice, sugar, nuts and much more. S&S in Chico lets shoppers do this. The website says, “Bring in a reusable container and fill it up with many of our bulk items: beans, grains, granola, herbs, spices, teas, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, etc.”

A Granel in Todos Santos was all about buying in bulk. Grassroots in South Lake Tahoe also promoted this concept, though not to the extent the Baja store did.

This just isn’t something I’ve gotten into, but now at least I’m considering it.

When the kitchen garbage bag goes out weekly, the bag holding recyclables becomes the next week’s garbage bag. So, those bigger white bags are getting two uses. I don’t have a plastic bag in my office garbage can because 99 percent of the waste is paper. And in the bathroom, I empty the can, which is lined with a plastic bag, into the main can weekly. In a year’s time, I believe I’m on my second or third plastic bag in there.

An internet search about things to do with plastic bags shows the creativity some people have that I’m just never going to embrace, like braiding them into a jump rope, weaving them into a basket, or shredding them for filler grass for an Easter basket. No longer relevant is the idea to put a bag over side mirrors of a car so ice/snow does not build up on them.

I’ll never get rid of every bag in my life because there are some foods I won’t give up, like popcorn. I refuse to stop eating certain foods simply to keep another bag from finding the landfill. But I am rethinking my relationship and use of bags, which may lead to less plastic in my life, and therefore less that will wind up in a dump.

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