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April 28, 2007 / Park Slope / Perspective / PS … I Love You

Bagless writer, tree-filled block

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I made an Earth Day resolution: no more plastic shoping bags. When I go shopping, I will bring my own bag. If I forget my bag, I will ask for paper. Most stores have paper bags, they just don’t think to offer them.

I didn’t decide this because of that Assemblyman in Bensonhurst who wants to ban plastic bags because they’re environmentally unsound. For me, the anti-plastic campaign began because I’ve gotten fed up with all the shopping bags that get stuck to the branches of the tree in front of my house. The other day, there was one just inches from my living-room window, but I couldn’t reach it. So instead of a locust tree, I had a plastic bag tree.

I hate plastic bag trees. There are five of them on my block alone, and hundreds throughout the neighborhood. If the shopping bags don’t end up in the trees, they end up in the water, floating for eternity and strangling marine life. The other place they end up is the landfill, where they pile up. When they finally decompose, the bags return to their oil-based roots.

When I go down to Seventh Avenue, I usually make three or four stops: video rental store (small, black bag), Italian specialty store (large white bag, two if I am buying dinner), one of the markets (thin plastic bag, usually doubled), wine shop (black bag with tell-tale silver stripes). When I get the bags home I stuff them under my sink. Eventually, I have more than I need down there and I throw them all away, only to start my collection all over again.

Of course, the fault lies not only with the stores, but with myself. I already have three or four canvas bags — bags that I brought expressly for the purpose of cutting down my use of plastic shopping bags — yet I never seem to have one on me when I’m out shopping. If I am forgetting, the rest of Park Slope is probably forgetting, too.

If we can go bagless when we go to Costco, we can do it everywhere. But you have to remember that canvas bag (or those over-stuffable net bags that everyone uses at the Co-op). And if you must take a bag, re-use it.

There is no reason that we need those flimsy plastic shopping bags. Most of the grocery stores have the good old-fashioned paper bags, so use those instead (and make sure they get recycled, too).

The bag that was in the tree outside my window is finally gone. The big Nor’easter of ’07 ripped it out of the branches and sent it on its way, probably to another tree, or maybe all the way into the harbor. I am glad it is gone from my block, and I want to be sure that a bag I take is not the next one in my tree.

But what about the next bag? So let’s all make this Earth Day resolution in Park Slope: “Refuse the bag!”

The Kitchen Sink

Five Slope restaurants have already signed onto our pal Lenore Arons’s breast cancer fundraiser. As we reported a few weeks ago, Arons has been asking Slope restaurants to contribute towards fighting the disease. So far, Blue Ribbon, Aunt Suzie’s, Bogota Latin Bistro, Bonnie’s Grill, NoNo Kitchen and Miriam have agreed to donate 10 to 15 percent of one night’s receipts. We’ll do our part by continuing to print the names of the do-gooding eateries. For now, email Arons, a Lincoln Place resident, at walkingwithlenore@att.net. …

Murray, the newest Muppet, made his Sesame Street debut in Prospect Park this week. The filming, for next season, was at the bandshell and around the Ninth Street playground. Murray, a large orange Muppet, paused from his work to greet the crowds. His human pal, Muppeteer Joey Mazzerino, will entertain adults at PS 107 “Readings on the Fourth Floor” series on June 5 at 7 pm.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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