Refuse is the first step

The other day, I did some light shopping for craft supplies for a project. We went to 2 different stores and bought 2-3 items per store. At each store, it was assumed that I would want a bag. I wasn’t even asked. But, I’ve been in the habit of refusing bags for many years now, so I was able to catch the cashier each time before she gave it to me. 

Why do we need to have a bag for one or a small number of items? One of the easiest things you can do to reduce single-use plastic waste is to refuse a bag. Simply say, “no bag, please” or “I don’t need a bag.” I have yet to encounter someone who insists that I take it.

Last weekend, while I was away, I was in a small store that sells bulk goods for really great prices. I thought I was only getting a few items, but when I got to the register, my arms were stacked full and in hindsight, I was wishing I had gotten a small basket. Since I was travelling, I had forgotten my reusable bags. This gave me an opportunity to be a bit humorous, so I said to the cashier, I probably need a bag, but I don’t want one. She chuckled and as I left the store with my arms full of bags of sunflower seeds and a jar honey, I was thankful that I passed on the bag. I really didn’t need one after all.

Refuse is the word that needs to come before Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

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