Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome to Plastic Lane, Non-Recycling State in the US of A.

I just must say, one of the biggest amazement I have encountered has turned out to be a cultural chock. It is regarding the way they recycle in Alabama, or just how much waste one gets by going to the store for groceries. The amount you throw away and the amount of plastic used is just unbelievable even for me, who sometimes complain loudly about the amount of recycling we have to do back in Sweden.

It is ridicules to go to the grocery store because even if I shop a little I come out from the store with tuns of plastic bags. Sometimes I wonder if I have more plastic bags with me home than I have purchased items. Were is the stores responsibility of a greener world they so highly market to their consumers with their sales of alternative fabric bags?

The world of recycling or using paper bags have not really arrived to Alabama. I am amazed that nothing is recycled here by the people. In Sweden, I have counted, I have up to 10 recycling bins just in the apartment complex we live in. In Alabama I throw everything in one big green garbage bin (which should be black instead of green, since green for me means recycling).

Someone has told me they recycle at the garbage station. Just picture this: I throw everything into my leak-proof garbage bag, than into the garbage bin which is emptied twice a week (due to the weather here in the summer time reaches 90s 104F /35-40C), after that it goes to a station where people work - sorting, picking and recycling mine and everybody else's trash. How disgusting is that!!! I hope they get paid more then well! Just the common knowledge and the general attitude among the Alabama residents and the stores about recycling makes me highly questioning it.

When I do my shopping I try to avoid products with the enormous amounts of plastic wrapping around every single item, but it is difficult. I have bought fabric bags that I bring to the grocery store when I shop. But, usually I end up with plastic bags anyway because everything will not fit according to the person packing it. If I could packed it myself, I am quite sure I would fit everything in my 5 green colored fabric bags. (Observe, in the grocery store you do not pack your own bag. Its packed for you and even unloaded for you into your car).

Well, yesterday I forgot my fabric bags at home. The result can be found in the pictures below.... It took 15 plastic bags to bring home the items seen below. Ha ha ha.. I even told the man packing my groceries to make sure to fill the plastic bags with so many items as possible... They just don´t listen or just don´t understand what I am trying to say..

In this picture you can see what I bought. And by the way, guess what these items cost me!? The correct guess is one hundred dollars (679 SEK). There is no meat, egg or milk, but other basic products and lots of vegetables, which is very expensive.

I just wanted to show you the size of the plastic bags they pack all the groceries. I have an issue with them. They are not very strong or large for that matter, but trust me they hold much more than just one item.

I have on my kitchen floor lined up all the bags I got for all the items I purchased yesterday (see first picture). It took 15 plastic bags. And several of them had only one item in them. Talk about waste...

In Alabama I have 10 bags with me home from the grocery store, but only one garbage bin to throw it away in. In Sweden I have one plastic bag with groceries with me home, but I will have ten bags filled with garbage with me down to the recycling station.