Plastic Bags and Donations

On Monday, my husband — who was serving jury duty on his birthday — asked me to pick up potatoes, butter, and cream on the way home from work. When I got in my car, I realized I’d already used and not returned the chico bag I keep in my backpack and the chico bag I keep in my car, so I had no bags on me. My options, as I saw them, were:

1. Drive home and get bags before shopping at a store on my way home, thus wasting gas.
2. Buy pre-bagged potatoes for easy carrying, thus wasting plastic.
3. Push the cart of loose potatoes to my car and load them on the passenger seat.

I was leaning towards number three when I remembered that there’s a charity pickup this week on my street, and I have about the amount of things to donate as would fit in a paper bag.

In general, I’m against any disposable bag — paper or plastic — but in this case, since I had a second use for the bag in mind, and had, in fact, already set aside the items for donation, I gave myself a pass.

Still, the situation begs the question: if I’ve limited my purchases and am no longer getting much in the way of boxes, but I still have enough stuff that I’ll be making donations for quite a while, what containers should I use for those donations?

In general, I think I can get my hands on empty boxes at work because of all the reams of paper we go through, so I should be fine for pickups, but most often at drop-off sites I see people with large plastic garbage bags of clothes (that was me not too long ago), and that’s a waste that could easily be avoided, especially since at many of those drop-off sites, the items inside the bags are almost immediately removed and put into large bins labeled “clothes,” “toys,” etc. Next time I drive to drop off something, I’ll be sure to use one of my storage bins or a drawer and put my items directly into the specified bin so I don’t create extra waste when trying to do something good.

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