In Akron, it is socially uncomfortable and often times weird to ask your supermarket bagger to use customer provided cloth bags. Only yesterday, at the Giant Eagle on Waterloo Rd, this shopper handed over two cloth bags to the clerk before emptying my cart of purchases, telling her that I brought my own shopping bags. The clerk's attention was all on the handsome young bagger, who was relating a long involved story to her. Once my cart was empty, I turned -- only to see that the bagger was loading my goods into plastic bags while my own cloth bags lay there in front of him, all empty from neglect.
"In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.
Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog."
"Hey, I don't want plastic bags -- I asked you to use my own cloth bags!" I said, and then -- I really couldn't help myself -- my teacher voice came out in full force: "Perhaps if you hadn't been talking so much you would have heard my request."
The clerk looked guilty and the bagger looked pissed, but he emptied the plastic bags and packed my cloth ones, while I calmly commented that plastic bags were harmful to the environment.
I want Akron to be a plastic bag free zone. Join with me and write your local council person. Maybe we should go for Summit County instead as most of the major shopping districts lie outside of the city limits. What do you think?