My Eco Hypocrisy Confession – In the Bag

When I lived in America I considered myself an environmentalist. I bought used when ever I could, I tried not to waste resources and every now and then I walked somewhere instead of drove.

I also read a lot of environmentally conscious books and could spend a good deal of time patting myself on the back about how well I was doing. Then I moved to another country and my feel-good, eco aware self disillusionment went up like a puff of diesel exhaust.

Compared to the Australians I’ve met, I’ve been a consumeristic piglet all my life.  I’ve been reluctant to give up my bleach, clothes dryer and comfy car.  I allowed my laziness to send thousands of plastic shopping bags to the landfill.  When my clothes got worn they went to the back of the closet or back to Goodwill, I didn’t really repair anything.  I wasn’t here long before I started receiving an eco-attitude adjustment.

I wanted to write a simple blog post about all the changes I’ve had to make to my personal consumerverse, but there are so many things I’ve had to learn I’ve decided to break it up into multiple posts.  With Americans consuming resources 4 times as much as any other country, even if just a few of us dedicate ourselves to positive change, it will make a difference.

I won’t lie and say that I made these changes out of my great love for the earth.  Quite frankly, I was forced to.  I would much rather feel good about myself without actually giving anything up, but in retrospect the changes have been so easy. I hope I can encourage some of my friends to do some good that will benefit them as well as everyone else in the world.  So, on to my first attitude adjustment… life sans plastic bags.

My Shopping Bag Myths:
I always thought reusable shopping bags were a good idea, and I actually bought a few at one time that I fully intended to use.  They probably continue to live in the back of some closets somewhere, as of yet unused.  I’d like to say I never used them because I simply forgot to bring them, but the truth is I hated the thought of being an inconvenience while a cashier struggled with my cloth bags, the rest of the line glaring at me as I held things up.

My Shopping Bag Truth:
I’ve been off plastic shopping bags for three months now, and I really don’t miss them.  It turns out that it’s pretty easy to grab my tote of reusable cloth bags when I grab my grocery list, and all times I have two spare bags folded up very small in an extra pocket of my purse for unplanned purchases. 

It hasn’t been an inconvenience at all, after I got used to it, and at this rate in one year I’ll have saved around 240 plastic bags from being landfilled.  If the US government would take a hard stance and ban plastic sacks like the Aussi government did, that would save 73,681,572,000 non biodegradable bags in the landfill per year from the US alone.  What a big difference for what turned out to be a relatively easy lifestyle change.  Best of all, not once have I been glared at by a cashier for my reusable bags.

See you tomorrow where I’ll share how I battled bleach addiction and learned to harness passive solar power…

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher, and author with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She co-publishes Space and Time magazine with author husband Ryan Aussie Smith. For more information visit
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2 Responses to My Eco Hypocrisy Confession – In the Bag

  1. Marsha says:

    I like the name of your new blog. I read the one on plastic bags, I too am a fairly recent convert to cloth bags (about a year.)

  2. Stefanie says:

    Popular reusable shopping bags commonly sold at Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS contain high levels of lead…

    Vodka works great for cleaning. :)

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