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Opinion: Paper or plastic?

A couple of days ago, I went to the grocery store to purchase water bottles for our church. During the summer months, we have something we call “The Water Ministry,” in which we distribute water to people in and around town. If we see someone who might be thirsty, we greet them with a bottle of water and a blessing. Our aim is not for a particular group of people. We give water to the construction workers, mail carriers, the homeless, or just anyone who looks thirsty.

So, when we purchase this water for our distribution, we don’t need to buy designer water. It’s just water. I always try to get a good deal on the cases of water I purchase. So, I found a case of 24 bottles for $2.98. Sounded good to me, so I bought two cases. Upon checkout, I was told I owed $8.36. WHAT?!? Oh, yeah. I forgot the CRV.

The CRV (California Refund Value) is charged on plastic bottles in an effort to get people to recycle their plastics. I would prefer for retailers to include the CRV in their price. When we are quoted a price, we ought to know that is the price we will PAY. (I’m just sayin’.) Is that too much of an accounting nightmare?

The whole idea of recycling plastics is not a new concept, but there seems to be a trend now in which some folks want us to stop using plastics altogether. On the surface, it seems an honorable idea. After all, plastics can be a nuisance. But how on earth can we ever stop using plastics? They spent generations trying to get us dependent on plastics, and now they want to take them away.

Truthfully, when they came out with those plastic grocery bags, I didn’t like them at all. The bagger in the grocery store would ask, “Paper or plastic?” I would always say it didn’t matter, which wasn’t true, but I was curious about their choice if I told them it didn’t matter. Their choice was always plastic. I actually preferred paper, but I guess the industry encouraged the use of plastic. After all, we don’t want to kill another tree.

My husband and I have always saved our plastic grocery bags for other uses. We haven’t purchased plastic garbage bags in about 30 years, because grocery bags are our kitchen garbage bags. I have a couple of little (plastic) hook things that fit through the handles of the plastic grocery bags, and set over the sides of our kitchen garbage container (which is plastic). For us, it made no sense to purchase plastic bags to throw away.

In our attic, we have so many bags accumulated over the years that when the stores stopped providing bags, we just pulled out our stash of bags and loaded them in the car. The stores didn’t really stop providing the plastic bags. They just started making you purchase them for ten cents. (It seems to me that if the purpose is to stop the use of plastic bags, they wouldn’t even sell them.)

Now that we are used to the idea we have to reduce our use of plastics, or get severely charged for our addiction to plastic, the world has a new focus — the coronavirus. Now, some of the stores are providing bags again. They don’t want you to bring your own bags into the store.

Have a great week.

— My love to all,


• • •

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

— Philippians 2:4

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