I was watching a YouTube Video yesterday, made by a young American woman who has only lived in the US a short time since she moved to Switzerland at 17. She has since returned to the US. She had made a “reverse culture shock” video about some of the things she had forgotten about while spending the last 5+ years in Switzerland and Germany. One of those things we having plastic and paper bags available in the grocery stores / Supermarkets, because, in Germany and Switzerland (at least in the parts she lived in) you had to bring your own reusable bags.
I can only speak on it from my own experience from the grocery stores I have been in.
I will only talk about places I have visited in the last 5ish years.
Here in Portland Oregon, and in Multnomah County (The county Portland is in), a plastic bag ban was put into effect a few years ago. Up until that point, and still to this day in other counties (as well as for paper bags in Multnomah County), paper/plastic bags are free.
Bringing your own bags is still totally optional here in Oregon and SW Washington, but is definitely encouraged here in Portland. I can’t speak on Tacoma or Seattle, because I haven’t been grocery shopping in Seattle and it has been way to long since I have been in a grocery store in the Tacoma and Olympia areas.
When I was in New York (Long Island), a few years ago, I want to say plastic bags were readily available and didn’t cost anything.
From where my parents live, in Portland, Clackamas County is a short drive away (and the closest Fred Meyer to their house is in Clackamas County). Clackamas County still has plastic bags in their stores, free of charge.
Polk County (central willamette valley), where I lived while in college, as well as Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop Counties on the coast still for sure have plastic bags in their grocery stores, free of charge.
I get the point of doing away with plastic grocery bags, but I am not a fan. For people like me, who reuse them for garbage when I am cleaning the house, I don’t want to spend money I am going to put trash in anyway, when (at least here) you can get plastic grocery bags that many people still reuse. I also like them for when I buy meat, and should something leak, the plastic contains the mess, and is less time (and cleaning products) to clean up after.
For the most part I don’t mind using the reusable bags for everything but raw meat, but I also don’t like being dictated to or punished for the actions of those who don’t reuse or dispose of their plastic bags properly.
I have been known to purposefully go shopping for groceries in Clackamas County and for non perishables in some of the other counties if I happen to be in the area, just to get plastic bags. Yet I am also taken aback when asked “Paper or Plastic?”.
Up where my aunt and uncle live in BC, they still can get plastic but have to pay for the bags if they don’t bring their reusable bags.
So I have grown accustomed to having reusable bags, but still miss (and take advantage of other counties still having them for free) the plastic grocery bags, that I do reuse.
Leave me a comment below, letting me know what it is like where you are in terms of paper, plastic, and reusable and do you have to pay for your paper or plastic bags, and your thoughts on should more states be banning plastic bags?