The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 16, 2005


Paper or plastic?
submitted by Irene Bass Blake

How many times have you been asked, "Paper or plastic?" Every time you go to the grocery store the question is asked. How do you respond and why?

Plastic seems to be the bag of choice, although I personally cannot see the reason why. Yes, plastic uses up fewer trees, and is easier for the store to store in great quantities. It doesn't weigh much and is very flexible. But whenever I am given plastic bags, they slide all over my trunk, spill out the contents and when I try to carry them by the handle, then either tear, or cuts into my fingers. I know you can tie the bags, but then I can't untie them. I could carry fewer bags at a time, but that makes more trips to the house. I know you can bring plastic bags back to the store for recycling, but I always forget, and I wind up with about 100 extra bags and throw them all away.

Personally, I like paper. It's hard to get paper. You tell the cashier, "paper" and look over to see the bagger bagging two or three items each in plastic. "No, no" I say. "Please give me paper." Then the bagger tries to put all those little plastic bags in my paper bag. Frustrating to say the least. Now, I repeat to cashier, bagger, and anyone else around, "Give me paper; fill up the bag; I don't care if it's heavy, and don't give me any plastic." Occasionally if I turn my eyes away for half a second, they still manage to slip in some plastic.

Here's my reasoning. Paper bags don't tip over so easily, They hold more groceries, and I can use them to line my kitchen trash can. With a full paper bag, I can make fewer trips from the car to the house, and can even set it down while I fish in my purse for the house key.

Now, how do I get them to put the grapes on top and the cans and sugar on the bottom of the bag? That part seems difficult to learn. However, many baggers have mastered the art of packing a paper bag so that the corners of the boxes are sticking out at a perfect angle to tear the bag in two as soon as I try to pick it up by the handle.

Just think how boring life would be for me if I didn't have these little annoyances at the grocery store. Without this little flutter in my otherwise "perfect" world, I would have to find something else to complain about, like how come one sock always seems to disappear between the laundry basket and the dryer?

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2005 The Carlisle Mosquito