Ban plastic bags? Can the Defense Commissary Agency or DeCA really do that? Why would they want to ban plastic grocery bags?
Well, in California, state lawmakers just passed a plastic-bag-ban bill. If the bill is signed it will ban grocery stores from providing the bags to its customers.
The reason a bill like this was passed is to help out the environment. It is probably pretty obvious that there are a lot of plastic bags being taken home by grocery shoppers. Some of them are probably reused for another purpose. I know we like to reuse the ones we get for things like taking snacks or toys to the park to throwing away diapers or other types of mess. They work great to keep in your car and to have on hand if you have small children that might have an accident. There are many ways to reuse the plastic bags but does that make a difference?
According to the Earth Policy Institute, people use 1 trillion plastic bags a year and the average use length was just 12 minutes. Even though some of us reuse them I would assume that the majority of those bags go right into the trash. This can be a big issue as they are not good for the environment. They can take a very long time to decompose (anywhere from 15 to 1,000 years) as well as hurting animals who get stuck in them or who try to eat them.
Wouldn’t it be better to get rid of plastic bags altogether? What if the commissary decided to ban plastic bags? Would it bother you?
We spent 4 years in Germany and the German stores are very different from American ones. Everyone brings their own bags. Some places do allow you to purchase a plastic bag for anywhere from $.10 to $1. Most of these bags are stronger than what you can find in the states and although they are plastic, you can reuse them a few times. Whenever I went to the German stores I either brought a bag or bought one. However, I never did my big shopping there. I usually only bought 1 bag full anyway.
Since 2008, DeCA has been working to reduce the use of paper and plastic bags through its environmental management program. As part of that program, baggers are asked to not double-bag unless a patron specifically requests it and the commissaries sell their own green reusable grocery bags. Patrons can also recycle their plastic bags by returning them to collection bins at commissaries stateside.
If there was a plastic bag ban then people would either need to be OK with paper or bring their reusable grocery bags. This might not be an issue for some although for others it might complicate things. It would be a change and one we would all have to get used to.
If banning plastic bags can help save the environment, it is probably a good thing to do, even at the commissary. If it isn’t going to happen now, it will happen in the future. It is a good idea that most of us get used to bringing our own bags to the store.