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Author Topic: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.  (Read 3681 times)

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Offline BayushiTopic starter

I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« on: February 07, 2011, 09:09:01 PM »
I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.

Boy was I wrong.

Tomorrow, the Oregon state Senate will begin its consideration SB 536, in a committee hearing. State Bill 536 will ban plastic bags, as well as paper bags that do not have at least 40% recycled material.

To use a paper bag with 40% or more recycled material, the consumer will have to pay an additional five cents per bag used.

Good job, assholes. You're sure helping us out when there are an increasing number of poor. You know, those poor who don't exactly have the money to blow on PAPER GODDAMNED BAGS?

Maybe if you elected morons spent time figuring out how to bring JOBS to the state, and not worrying about PLASTIC BAGS, people might be able to afford retarded laws like this one?

OH, I'M SORRY! I forgot that COMMON SENSE does not exist. Just political pandering to special interest groups and massively overblown hyperbole.

. . .



Disclaimer: The poster is an irritated resident of the state of Oregon who cannot afford to pay 5 cents per paper bag when making once-a-month shopping trips for groceries. As such, the amount of groceries would greatly exceed the amount of space offered by reusable canvas bags, which the poster can not afford, either.

Offline Oniya

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 09:29:42 PM »
My mother used to save paper grocery bags and re-use them.  Admittedly, she reused them as garbage bags, but if the bags aren't too badly beaten up, I could see taking them back to the store for a few refills.  Also, cardboard boxes.  There was a chain called Shopper's Food Warehouse where I used to live that encouraged people to use old cardboard boxes to carry their groceries.

Hopefully, it won't come to that, but those are possibilities for saving those extra nickles.

Offline Caeli

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 09:33:12 PM »
Possible solutions:

Reuse the plastic bags that you do have. I don't go shopping that often, but all of my bags just accumulate because I save them for household trash and other things, and I don't use them fast enough.

Get one or two boxes (if you don't have any clean ones lying around, a large USPS flat rate box or two should do) and leave it in your trunk. When shopping, tell the bagger or cashier you'd prefer not to have a bag, thanks, and have them put groceries directly into the cart. Place your groceries directly into the boxes, sans bags, and transport your groceries that way.

Get some scrap fabric and sew together a large bag suitable for your grocery needs. You can reinforce it with extra fabric, make thick straps so they don't cut into your hands, and they'll look cool.



Frankly, I'm glad that there are cities and states that are doing more to conserve our resources and ban disposable, one-time-use items like plastic bags that are harmful to our environment and produce so much waste. I was rather ticked off when a similar bill in California didn't pass, because shoppers became all offended that the law was about inconveniencing them.

It's not. This is about being green, and being more environmentally friendly, and looking at the resource waste that's going into making these "free plastic bags" for people to use. In the long run, reusing your own bags (and they don't even have to be canvas; I have two reusable bags, one of which is a huge red plastic Toyota bag, and another a bag made out of recycled water bottles) isn't any less convenient, is environmentally friendly, and will save you and the store money.

Offline elone

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 10:43:28 PM »
Some of us just like the idea of being green.  Plastic bags are the scourge of the Earth. While they are trying to make some out of natural products, most plastic is oil based. How many of those plastic bags do we see on the roadside every day. They fill the landfills and are not degradable. They are clogging our rivers and oceans.  Cudos to the politicians who have the guts to stand up for something that is right over what is convenient.  As for the 5 cent cost, be creative, make a bag and put it in your car.  There are also recycle bins outside the store for plastic bags. Where I live the grocery store actually takes 5 cents off your bill for every reusable bag supplied by the customer. A good solution for Oregon and elsewhere. Another idea, donate to Sierra Club, World Wildlife fund, and many other organizations. They often have introductory gifts such as canvas bags for donors. It does the world good and is tax deductible as well. Personally, I don't think they should charge for a recycled paper bag, but I think the idea is to encourage reusable bags.

Offline Zakharra

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 10:48:03 PM »
It's not. This is about being green, and being more environmentally friendly, and looking at the resource waste that's going into making these "free plastic bags" for people to use. In the long run, reusing your own bags (and they don't even have to be canvas; I have two reusable bags, one of which is a huge red plastic Toyota bag, and another a bag made out of recycled water bottles) isn't any less convenient, is environmentally friendly, and will save you and the store money.

 For alot of people, going green is an inconvenient becuase going 'green' costs more, and some green solutions are plain assed stupid.  A drunk, crack addicted, acid tripping monkey could come up with better solutions than some of the green ideas submitted and pushed by the politicians.

Offline Caeli

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 10:57:27 PM »
Personally, I think a 5-cent fine for plastic or paper bags is preferable to an outright ban (nudging people to change their habits, rather than shoving them into it). I think it's more effective and more consumer-friendly than a ban, even though a ban would definitively cut down on the consumption of plastic bags. But, it's also been proven in cities that implemented them that fines can decrease plastic bag usage by 80% to 90%. But that's besides the point.

Paper bags actually aren't all that much better than plastic. Plastic bags are oil based, and paper bags are tree-based - and even if it is recycled, the process of recycling itself requires energy. It's good that they're working towards recycled paper bags, though, rather than originally produced paper bags (which require four times the energy to produce as the same amount of plastic bags). In my opinion, it's a step in the right direction.

For alot of people, going green is an inconvenient becuase going 'green' costs more, and some green solutions are plain assed stupid.  A drunk, crack addicted, acid tripping monkey could come up with better solutions than some of the green ideas submitted and pushed by the politicians.

I find it hard to believe that it's more costly for a consumer to save plastic bags from a previous grocery store run to use the next time s/he heads to the grocery store to buy more groceries.

Or to piece together from old shirts or unwanted clothing, a cloth bag that can be reused, at only the cost of some time and some thread.

Or to reuse an old box to hold groceries.

These aren't green ideas submitted and pushed by politicians. These are practical solutions that anybody - you, me, our neighbors, people up and down the socio-economic bracket - can use. Sure, it's not as convenient as getting your groceries bagged in plastic, but I don't see how it's a terrible ordeal to try to work towards a greener, more environmentally-friendly future with a small act like reusing a plastic bag that might otherwise go into the trash, or sit unused under the sink.

Offline Zakharra

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 11:26:44 PM »
I find it hard to believe that it's more costly for a consumer to save plastic bags from a previous grocery store run to use the next time s/he heads to the grocery store to buy more groceries.

Or to piece together from old shirts or unwanted clothing, a cloth bag that can be reused, at only the cost of some time and some thread.

Or to reuse an old box to hold groceries.

 For most people, it's a very big inconvenience to remember to take them with you in the car, then into the store.  I reuse the plastic ones at home as small garbage bags, or burn them.

Quote
These aren't green ideas submitted and pushed by politicians. These are practical solutions that anybody - you, me, our neighbors, people up and down the socio-economic bracket - can use. Sure, it's not as convenient as getting your groceries bagged in plastic, but I don't see how it's a terrible ordeal to try to work towards a greener, more environmentally-friendly future with a small act like reusing a plastic bag that might otherwise go into the trash, or sit unused under the sink.

 If a city is trying to tax or outright ban plastic/paper bags, that is politics getting involved. Anything to do with a law is by definition, politics, for it to be enacted. 

 Part of the problem though is that these 'practical' solutions are being pushed by politicians and such, with the motto, ' to work towards a greener, more environmentally-friendly future'.  Several examples are  discontinuing the incandescent lightbulb in favor of the curled fluorescent ones and the not too subtle political pressure to get people to buy electric cars (what powers the electric plants? Coal or gas. Fossil fuel).  Using ethanol for fuel was a real bright idea too.

Offline Oniya

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 11:48:38 PM »
Yeah, funny thing about those curly fluorescent bulbs:  They don't actually last the 'seven years' that they were claiming.  We haven't owned our house that long, and we bought our first ones well after we moved in.  We're already replacing them.  Which brings me to the other fun thing about them:  You can't throw them away, even in your recycling bins.  They have to be taken to a special recycling center, due to the mercury vapor inside.  So, it's back to whatever hardware store you can find that stocks them, because the grocery stores and dollar stores that you got them from have no clue what to do with them.

Offline BayushiTopic starter

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 02:17:52 AM »
Frankly, I'm glad that there are cities and states that are doing more to conserve our resources and ban disposable, one-time-use items like plastic bags that are harmful to our environment and produce so much waste. I was rather ticked off when a similar bill in California didn't pass, because shoppers became all offended that the law was about inconveniencing them.

I'm all for being more ecologically conscious. However, I do not believe that the government has any business in said matters.

Especially when it's not going to cost THEM anything more, but it will cost ME more. It's going to cost people money. At a time when money is becoming increasingly scarce, and food prices are rising.

If anything, the timing for this law is bad.

As for one-time use, I reuse my plastic bags. I've used them for anything from cleaning up after a dog while walking one, to taping a bunch onto my computer chair when I had to move it and it was raining. These bags have a lot of uses, and most stores here have readily accessible bins in which to dispose of used plastic bags. They're usually pretty full.

Even with the ecological concerns posed by plastic bags, to me it's just another creeping step taken by the encroaching nanny state. If I wanted to live in a nanny state, I'd move to the UK. Seriously.

Offline Lilias

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 04:31:52 AM »
If I wanted to live in a nanny state, I'd move to the UK. Seriously.

You wouldn't complain about the free healthcare then, would you?

For reference, there's no law on plastic/paper bags here because retailers handle the issue themselves (apparently they get perks for being green). The Co-op and Marks & Spencer have been charging 5p for their carrier bags for years. Sainsbury's prefer the bribe approach, awarding loyalty points for reused bags and replacing their 'Lifetime' reusables free of charge when they're worn out.

Perhaps the answer to the grocery-carrying issue is something like this.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 06:57:57 AM »
How much effort is it to buy a few cloth bags and use those? Since they last a long time if sturdy and can be washed as needed I don't see the issue.

Offline Zakharra

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 08:38:19 AM »
How much effort is it to buy a few cloth bags and use those? Since they last a long time if sturdy and can be washed as needed I don't see the issue.

 It's probably just remembering to carry them with you in the car, that many people would forget. That and paying $.05 per bag when before they were free.


Yeah, funny thing about those curly fluorescent bulbs:  They don't actually last the 'seven years' that they were claiming.  We haven't owned our house that long, and we bought our first ones well after we moved in.  We're already replacing them.  Which brings me to the other fun thing about them:  You can't throw them away, even in your recycling bins.  They have to be taken to a special recycling center, due to the mercury vapor inside.  So, it's back to whatever hardware store you can find that stocks them, because the grocery stores and dollar stores that you got them from have no clue what to do with them.


Silly isn't it? As it is, most probably end up in the normal garbage and landfill. Not to mention it likely costs more in energy to make and dispose of the bloody fluorescent bulbs than an incandecent one.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 08:46:56 AM »
Once you get into the habit of carrying your own bag like you would your wallet or purse its not an issue. My dad got me into that habit years ago he said no use wasting a tree use this army surplus ammo bag it will last for years, that was years ago. And he is not a tree hugger just hates wasting things.

Offline Oniya

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 10:02:33 AM »
Carrying 'a bag' is the sort of thing that makes sense if you can shop 'European-style' (getting most stuff fresh daily) or only for a single person on a weekly basis or so.  If you're shopping for a family on a monthly basis (and probably saving money by buying large, in-bulk products), you can be talking 10-15 bags, based on my recollections of Mom shopping on base.

Online Valerian

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 11:41:38 AM »
Granted, the once-a-month shoppers wouldn't want to have that many bags with them all the time -- and the initial investment might hurt a little, though it is possible to find free or very cheap bags -- but on the other hand, I would think it would then be very difficult to forget to bring them on one of the big shopping trips.  I have my bags on a shelf next to my front door, and it's quite rare that I forget to bring them along with me.  And I'm forgetful, as a rule.  :P

When I was growing up, we did large shopping trips regularly (the nearest grocery store was some distance away), and believe me, we prepared for those trips.  Heh.  I also have a vague recollection of shopping someplace where purchases were regularly packed up into boxes and we could pick up a small deposit when we returned the boxes, though that place closed when I was quite young.  That sort of setup might start to become popular again, though, as a way to help consumers adjust, since adjustments have to be made.


"Nanny state" is probably a misleading term in this case, however, since it usually refers to things like smoking bans and helmet laws -- laws that affect only an individual.  Here, we're talking about a problem that literally affects every person on earth.

Offline Trieste

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2011, 01:17:58 PM »
It's probably just remembering to carry them with you in the car, that many people would forget. That and paying $.05 per bag when before they were free.

I'm about the most forgetful person on the planet and I manage to remember them.

Plastic bags aren't biodegradable. They KILL any organisms that ingest them. They are made from non-renewable oil products, which makes them both environmentally and politically unwise. Paper bags are not much better.

And although they don't cost money, they are anything but 'free'.

Their only saving grace is that we have been conditioned to think of them as being convenient. Now, we need to shift our perceptions a little bit. Either people do it voluntarily now, or they get forced to do it later because of a crisis. Either way, it needs to get done.

Offline Alika Luminos

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2011, 01:19:43 PM »
I don't consider my life an entirely 'green' lifestyle per se, but I do try to make conscientious choices that will help preserve what we have left. It is really unfortunate that a lot of the 'conveniences' we have today are very, very bad for the world around us, and even our own bodies. I think all the suggestions are very good so far, and that they can likely help you feel a little better about the legislation being put into place. It sounds to me like the OP is more upset about what she feels is an encroachment on her right to choose, which is understandable, but there are always people on both sides of a law...which what makes legislation so difficult in general. You'll never appease everyone.

Unfortunately, even if the Pacific garbage swirl is -not- as large as Texas, the water is still heavily polluted. We are seeing more and more dead seabirds and mammals washing up on the shore with high levels of plastic-related toxicants in their fat stores and liver. It's easy to be swayed by hyperbole from either side of an argument. With reports of global warming, deforestation, mass animal die-offs, or other reports of our slowly dying world, the facts speak for themselves that the planet is in more trouble than ever, and not just from plastic. Humans (as a group) are stupid and wasteful. 

There are 3 or 4 videos in this series, I believe. I think they are worth watching. "Garbage Island" or not, you cannot stage pollution and waste like this:
Toxic: Garbage Island - Part 1

Offline Zakharra

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 01:43:44 PM »
I'm about the most forgetful person on the planet and I manage to remember them.

Plastic bags aren't biodegradable. They KILL any organisms that ingest them. They are made from non-renewable oil products, which makes them both environmentally and politically unwise. Paper bags are not much better.


 I am going to disagree with that. They do degrade. After several year or so of being exposed to the elements plastics degrade and the plastic bags you get in stores crumble into tiny pieces that are not a threat at all. I do admit the ones that are covered and buried last longer, but they do degrade over time.

Offline Trieste

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 01:51:24 PM »
This is similar to the discussion previously about the oil that sits in the can in your back yard. You observed that if you leave it long enough, it supposedly became harmless, therefore the Gulf of Mexico could recover easily and it was no big deal. However, it's a problem of volume.

This is the same problem. One bag might 'break into tiny harmless pieces' (they actually don't, but whatevs) but a thousand million bags breaking into tiny pieces is not harmless at all - it still leaves you with billions of pieces of the bags. Which are still toxic.

Plastic remains toxic at the molecular level, though. So your point is not valid on that level, either.

Offline Zakharra

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2011, 04:02:22 PM »
This is similar to the discussion previously about the oil that sits in the can in your back yard. You observed that if you leave it long enough, it supposedly became harmless, therefore the Gulf of Mexico could recover easily and it was no big deal. However, it's a problem of volume.

 Not true. Oil is an organic compound and degrades on it's own. Short term it can be toxic, but so is a mud slide and volcanic ash, but over the long term it's impact is erased. I've seen oil left out become an organic sludge if left out.  If the Gulf was left alone, in time you would find no trace of any spill because there are bacteria that would eat the oil.

Quote
This is the same problem. One bag might 'break into tiny harmless pieces' (they actually don't, but whatevs) but a thousand million bags breaking into tiny pieces is not harmless at all - it still leaves you with billions of pieces of the bags. Which are still toxic.

Plastic remains toxic at the molecular level, though. So your point is not valid on that level, either.

 No. That is false. It's based off of an organic  compound and unless you have a source that says the plastic never ever degrades, I'm assuming that is just your opinion and gquestionable science. If it is organic, it will degrade and not remain toxic. Unless you are saying that it remains as toxic as nuclear waste and heavy metals..

Offline Trieste

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2011, 04:45:53 PM »
No, it doesn't. I am a chemist, and my school specializes in marine science including the effects of pollution on it. Much as you might like it to, that shit doesn't just go away. The environment can handle small amounts of contaminants, in extremely specialized circumstances. Human waste does not count as 'small amounts'.

You want other scientists? You got other scientists. I even did my best to get publicly accessible literature so that you could read it instead of being asked for an institutional password and username.

Source, 2004 Talks about how the 'little pieces' all end up in the ocean, consumed by marine organisms, etc.

Source, 2002 Tell me, why would we be needing to engineer water-soluble polymers ('polymers' are the larger chemical group of which 'plastics' are a part - all plastics are polymers, not all polymers are plastics) at great cost and effort if the ones we have were already biodegradable and water soluble? Oh right we wouldn't.

Source, 2000 One of the so-called 'little pieces' that plastic breaks down into is vinyl chloride (Poly vinyl chloride is composed of long chains of vinyl chloride. Poly vinyl chloride = PVC, which is a kind of plastic that piping is made out of.) which is then leached out of landfills into the surrounding area. Soil, groundwater, etc. Here is a whole article about how incredibly toxic vinyl chloride is, and why it's still a problem.

Source, 1974 We have been aware of this problem since 1974 and you're trying to call it my personal opinion?

How about some government studies?

You can look at O'Brine, Tim and Richard C. Thompson. "Degradation of plastic carrier bags in the marine environment". 2010. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Volume 60, issue 12, pg 2279-2283.

Or you can look at a 2010 report out of Yangling, China. Maybe it will drive home that this is not just an American problem, or even a North American one. It's in Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao. 2010 Mar, Volume 21 Issue 3 pg. 763-769, entitled "Physical and chemical properties of land-filling pile and aged refuse in 5-year-old semi-aerobic and anaerobic landfills", by Zhang et al.

"The cytotoxic effects of synthetic 6-hydroxylated and 6-methoxylated polybrominated diphenyl ether 47 (BDE47)". 2010. Authored by An et al., published in Environmental Toxicology in April 2010. This is an article about a chemical applied to plastics that are used in industrial processes - meaning they are produced at a prodigious rate - and the chemical is an endocrine disruptor. This chemical is being leached out of refuse and it's ending up in our soil. In our water. In our food. In our bodies. Another one of your 'little pieces'.



I could keep going. I could probably write a 50-page review paper from the resources that are available to me from a simple 20-minute search. Statements like this:

Not true. Oil is an organic compound and degrades on it's own. Short term it can be toxic, but so is a mud slide and volcanic ash, but over the long term it's impact is erased. I've seen oil left out become an organic sludge if left out.  If the Gulf was left alone, in time you would find no trace of any spill because there are bacteria that would eat the oil.

[...] If it is organic, it will degrade and not remain toxic. [...]

... are ignorant, in addition to being flat out incorrect. Wake up and smell the science: we only have one planet and attitudes like yours are destroying it. Just as much, if not more, than greed is.

"I don't care to be inconvenienced by having to bring my own bags to the market." Feh. Whatever.

Offline Serephino

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2011, 06:30:08 PM »
Instead of charging extra for plastic bags, why not give incentives for recycling them?  Like maybe stores could set up a bin where you would put old bags, and you could get a 50 cent discount per... 10 bags?... that you bring back for them to send off to have recycled.

People would respond better if you saved them money rather than cost them more.  I'm all for being greener, but the current culture makes it difficult.  We do our shopping twice a month.  We can end up with 20 or more bags, depending on how much stuff we're out of.  I keep them for cleaning the litter box, and picking up after the dogs.

We make quick trips too.  I did buy a few cloth bags for $1 each.  I never remember to take them with.  I even tried keeping them in the car, but I still didn't remember to take them in the store with me.  Admittedly, my memory is so bad that some days I can't remember my own name, but I also think that another part of it is I'm just not in the habit of taking them. 

 


Offline Oniya

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2011, 06:39:22 PM »
Instead of charging extra for plastic bags, why not give incentives for recycling them?  Like maybe stores could set up a bin where you would put old bags, and you could get a 50 cent discount per... 10 bags?... that you bring back for them to send off to have recycled.


They used to do that with bottles, back in my parents' day.  Not only did you get people bringing back the ones that they used personally, but people (often kids) would scour trash for bottles to bring back.  Imagine the impact on the amount of tossed plastic bags if there was a deposit/return on them?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2011, 06:55:35 PM »
There are a lot of issues on both side of the issue but the approach that is being used by the Oregon state government seems to be a snap judgment with little thought on the impact their actions.

Impressive (actually intimidating) amount of data that btw Treiste.

Offline Trieste

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Re: I thought that it wasn't possible to get any more ridiculous.
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2011, 06:59:59 PM »
There are a lot of issues on both side of the issue but the approach that is being used by the Oregon state government seems to be a snap judgment with little thought on the impact their actions.

Agreed. Many people in our immediate area have made the switch to reusable bags because:

a) You get 5 cents off for each bag you use, which means if you keep one for about 6 months and you shop weekly, it pays for itself. Takes a little longer if you shop monthly (would take about 2 years) but using the bags less means that they won't wear out nearly as fast, too.

b) They are ubiquitous. Plastic bags are still fairly easy to get around here, and we still use them every once in a while when we make a quick trip (bread or milk or something) and forget the canvas bags. However, the cloth bags are everywhere. There are endcarts and racks with them on there ev.er.y.where.