Overpackaging and Overbagging

On Sunday we took a family stroll to do some shopping along Michigan Avenue. Despite the crowds and hot stores and long lines Evelyn was a very good girl. To thank her, I let her choose a treat for herself on the walk home. It was no surprise to me that she asked for a bagel, one of her favorite snacks whenever we’re out and about.

At the bakery the clerk behind the counter sliced the bagel and then proceeded to put it into a plastic clamshell container. Eeek!!! I stopped her right away and explained that I really didn’t need that extra packaging; a small paper bag would be fine. She looked at me with a blank stare and said, “That’s ok, I’ll just put it in the plastic box.” Double EEEK! Again, I asked her to use the paper bag, this time letting her know that I’m a bit of an eco-freak and I just don’t need a 79 cent bagel wrapped in 40 cents worth of nature-killing excess packaging!

It really drives me nuts when store clerks insist on overwrapping and overbagging. No, I don’t need my new shirt wrapped in tissue paper before it goes into a plastic bag – I’ll just put it in the reusable bag I always have in our stroller. As a consumer, you have the right – and the obligation – to tell clerks how you want to take your goods home with you. Just because they automatically offer a bag doesn’t mean you need to take it. Think two steps ahead and you’ll save yourself the hassle of dealing with excess stuff…and you’ll save the planet a little heartache.

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4 Comments for this entry

  1. motheringspirit says:

    Hi Maureen – just wanted to say I love your blog! I stumbled across while doing a search for homemade cleaning materials, and I couldn't believe I recognized the family in the pictures! 😉 (from ND – those Carroll boys). Your blog is a great resource for those of us mothers trying to keep it natural and simple. Thanks!
    Laura Fanucci

  2. Munchkie'sMama says:

    This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I tell the people at the stores that all of my things can be put into my own cloth bags. I usually end up repacking and handing them their plastic bags back if I can't catch them in time. Way to stop it ahead of time!

  3. HomemadeMother says:

    SO nice to hear from you, Laura! The fact that you stumbled upon my blog is a good reminder of just how small the world is! Hope all is well with your family.

  4. Laura says:

    I am with you here — just hand me the food and I'll put it in my mouth!! ;p Thanks for checking out my blog, I've had fun reading a bit of yours…

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