One Less Bag


I’ve talked about this before so if you’re bored and stifling a yawn I can’t say as I blame you, but this $&/t’s important so listen up anyway. Years ago, as a kid working the register — the kind where you had to figure out the change, not the kind where it figures it out for you — at my parent’s convenience store, I got to know the regulars, people who came in everyday for their coffee, or a donut, or a pack of gum or smokes every morning before work.  Because they were regulars, I began to anticipate their needs and would often have the item ready for them.

One guy — probably a 40-something, but then he seemed ancient — would never take a bag for his donut, and despite however many other items he’d placed on the counter, he still declined my offer of a bag. It was summer at the Jersey shore, so he didn’t have coat pockets to stuff things into, yet it never seemed to bother him, and his resolve never sagged.  Instead he said:

“If everyone took one less bag, imagine how many trees we would save?”

That’s all. He didn’t go on about what that actually meant – more trees (at that time bags were paper not plastic), more oxygen, more nature in the world – and I was only 11 or 12 so I didn’t ask, but I understood what he was saying and I knew it was important. This was around the time the Environmental Protection Agency was created by Richard Nixon and  environmental awareness was still a relatively new concept; this guy was ahead of his time.

Despite my youth, the one less bag pronouncement imprinted my psyche, awakening a need to be diligent about saving things that can’t save themselves. So thanks, Mr. One Less Bag Man, for such stellar advice. I’m putting it to good use.

It’s Day 15 of the #AtoZChallenge.  Tempest fugit.

pamlazos 4/16.19

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in bag, paper bag, plastic bag, shore, Uncategorized, work and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to One Less Bag

  1. YES. How often are we given a bag with just one item in it? How often do they have to triple-bag something because the bags are so uselessly thin to begin with? The only people thrilled with plastic bags are pet owners who need to pick up poop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindasschaub says:

    Time does fly Pam – I love that expression and it was engraved on the back of a clock I bought for my parents for their 25th wedding anniversary. The bag situation and how it endangers marine life and waterways is sad because humans are too lazy to take the time or effort to dispose of bags in a proper manner. I don’t think they will ever do away with these flimsy plastic bags, but if we humans could be a little smarter about using them, or trying to go without using them, the world would be a better place. No doubt this gentleman was a trendsetter, long before looking out for the environment was fashionable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ronel Janse van Vuuren says:

    We don’t use bags if we don’t need it — just pop it back in the trolley and then into the car. Easy-peasy. And the plastic bags they insist on at clothing stores are reused in the house (and sometimes to put gifts into). Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

    Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge with Music and Writing: The One…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, he really was ahead of his time. I think stores should just stop using these bags. Cloth is the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ken Dowell says:

    Once you become conscious of it, it’s incredible how many plastic bags you use and how unnecessary many of them are. A lot of times we use them just because they’re everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ally Bean says:

    Excellent idea. One less bag is so simple. It’s amazing how people influence each other, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I use the same cloth bags over and over at the supermarket. It’s the way to go!

    Have a great rest of the week, Pam. Bye till next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Susan Scott says:

    ONEderful! And so great that this made an impression on you at a young age. I’m getting madder and sadder and pissed when I see people pack their provisions into plastic bags (which they pay for at the till but – do they not know any better????)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Hi Susan! A friend just sent me a short video of an Israeli woman who created a totally biodegradable plastic so maybe people can eventually keep their plastic, but it will just be a better version of it 👏 since we all know behavior modification is often a losing battle.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – I now won’t use plastic bags and carry my own around with me … trouble is – I think they’re made of a zillion bagzillas! I am making a concerted effort to reduce all packaging etc … but your ‘O’ in the Challenge makes so much sense – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My darling, you never bore xxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. TanGental says:

    An unknown hero. We all need one to get us started. Mine was my history teacher who taught us about Gaia theory and the greenhouse affect and the shrinking ozone layer. That was circa 1974 and most thought him as nutty as a bag of spanners

    Liked by 2 people

  12. megisacat says:

    Both the cities I lived in did the 10 cent rule and I complained about it all the time because I would forget my reusble bag but when it came time to vote statewide for the bag tax I still voted yes. Now I’m much better at keeping bags in my car. It’s amazing how just 10 cents will prevent people from getting the bag

    Liked by 1 person

  13. cindy knoke says:

    I am proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That was a good man – but now paper bags are ‘in’ again …….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Except do we really need to go after the trees again where we already are logging too much. (The mushroom that are plastic was from the Amazon tai first which is disappearing because of logging.) How about we get a cloth bag and take it with us. Retailers need to encourage this behavior. No one faults Costco because it doesn’t give out bags. It’s actually quite the opposite. We’ll find the balance in all this somewhere, I hope. You’ve already done it in your artwork, Pauline, using discarded paper for bookmarks! 🙏🙏🙏

      Liked by 2 people

      • Plastic bags are all but gone from here. We all carry our own bags and someone said (jokingly) to me the other day I should store away safely any remaining plastic bags in my care, they would be worth a fortune someday………. He could be right 🙂 But now my freshly ground coffee beans come in chi-chi little brown paper bags and my organic foods order arrives in big strong brown paper bags etc etc, so the cycle goes round.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        ⭕️ ⭕️ ⭕️


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