‘Paper or, Um, Paper?’ Some Residents Less than Thrilled about New Plastic Bag Ban

A cartload of headaches for the moderators of the Canby Now Facebook group this week, as it was inundated with complaints about the statewide plastic bag ban that took effect Jan. 1.

And, just to be clear, the moderators of Canby Now actually don’t have anything to do with the statewide plastic bag ban, nor does the Canby City Council, or any local government, or any of our local stores. It’s a statewide plastic bag ban.

Nevertheless, dozens of new threads were started, locked and deleted this week, as folks unhappy with the ban sought new and different ways to gripe about a minor inconvenience.

“Bags, bags, bags. I’m so tired of bags,” laughed Lisa Leir, the group’s longtime administrator, when asked about her week.

She admitted she lost count, but said it was over 25 threads that had to be locked or deleted because of inflammatory behavior or, more often, just plain repetitiveness.

This included a YouTube link to a parody version of the Katy Perry song “Firework,” in which the word “firework” (and most of the other lyrics) were replaced with “plastic bag.” That one didn’t last long.

Another commenter suggested Canby Nowers post fun, creative or funny alternatives to the now-banned plastic grocery bags and — miraculously — the thread did not completely devolve into nonsense and name-calling.

Some of our favorite ideas: 5 gallon buckets from the Home Depot, Costco boxes, laundry baskets, extra large parachute pants, bags that a mom made from her daughter’s My Little Pony T-shirts she had grown out of and the one resident who said, “I’m just taking the shopping cart home with me.”

On the Canby Now Podcast page, things were a little more restrained. We asked folks what their actual shopping experiences had been and, alas, we did not hear too many horror stories.

“Other than Facebook drama, it’s been fine,” one said, while another added, “I have reusable bags I keep in my car. Remembering to grab them is the struggle! Lol but if I do forget, I just put groceries back into the cart and bag them at the trunk! No big deal.”

Some have even pointed out the bright side of the ban: Fewer trips between house and car. In general, the reusable bags hold a lot more and are less likely to split apart, spilling your eggs and milk all over the driveway.

Amy Lenhardt, one of the new owners of the Whiskey Hill Store in Hubbard and a recent guest of the show, posted a photo of a canvas Safeway bag.

“This bag belonged to my mom,” she said. “I have 3 of them. She died in 2004. The bags are probably 20 years old, WASHABLE, and are still in great shape. I use them every week. This bag thing is nothing new.”

Not new, but it’s also not surprising that the new law has had this response. After all, everybody eats, and almost everybody shops for groceries. Any change to that process, however small, is bound to be amplified simply because of the sheer number of people who have to deal with it.

So, unfortunately, the angst is probably not going away anytime soon. As the old saying goes, the cat is out of the organic cotton canvas, certified eco-friendly, biodegradable, hand knit, reusable grocery bag.

Photo by Peter Uetz.

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