Going Green - One Bag At A Time

As a poor college student, the process of going green can often turn into a difficult and expensive proposition. There's no arguing that steps need to be taken to rehabilitate our increasingly sick planet, and ensure the continued existence of those things we often take for granted. That said, talking the talk is much easier then walking the walk.

Beyond the obvious steps -- recycling chief among them, going green means buying a host of so called eco-friendly products. Since the best way these days to create change is to vote with your dollar, I find myself very limited. The problem with most eco-friendly products is they are for the most part, more expensive to produce. Those extra costs are then passed along to the final consumer. Take organic and locally grown produce, for example. You get a product that has fewer pesticides and chemicals, and one with a substantially reduced carbon footprint. The problem is, you can find yourself paying much more per pound then the chemical ridden counterpart from Chile. It becomes a catch-22 -- buy organic and local, feel good, and be dirt poor, or, continue buying the cheap stuff, feel guilty, but have a few dollars left over at the end of the month.

That said, I recently took a small step towards going green, one that everyone can, and should take. I bought reusable shopping bags. Wegman's, my local grocery store, makes these bags readily available at every checkout aisle. You can purchase a bag for $.99 if you have a shoppers club card, $1.29 without. By purchasing a few of these bags, not only do you cut down on the massive amount of non-degradeable, animal killing, oil guzzling plastic bag waste in the world, but you drastically reduce unloading trips between the car and your home. My girlfriend and I went from using a dozen or so plastic bags every week to 4 reusable ones. Thats a major reduction. What once took 2 or 3 trips out to the car can easily be finished in one. So if the environment doesn't concern you (it should) at least buy the bags to lessen the risk of some freak repetitive stress injury from unloading all those plastic bags. Your arms (and insurance company) will thank me.