A graphic example of recycling plastic bags

20091204_recycling.jpgThe time arrived last week to recycle all the plastic bags in my apartment. It’s funny how this time just happens to coincide with a family visit.

I hate to throw things away that I know can be easily recycled. It’s led to some messy stashes around my apartment because my landlord doesn’t offer multifamily recycling (in flagrant violation of Chico city code).

As I waited to take plastic bags to the recycling center (or supermarket), I’ve tossed them in a old mattress bag in my bedroom. Over the past 18 months, this bag has gotten stuffed from the numerous places I get bags — grocery stores, convenience stores, newspapers, etc.

By the time, I threw the bundle in the car, it was about four feet tall. The bag was almost like its own entity — it certainly had more presence in my apartment than almost anything else.

Half of the bag filled one of the store’s recycle bins. I planned to return later to drop off the remaining bags.

I had mixed feelings having so many plastic bags. Part of me is glad that I’m keeping these out of the landfills or in that giant plastic mass in the Pacific Ocean. On the other hand, I know I should reduce the number of plastic bags I take while shopping.

Already, I refuse bags when I buy just a handful of items. I can easily carry those to and fro.

I also have a ChicoBag and other reusable bags for larger purchases, but I don’t always have them handy. For the ChicoBag, I recently found mine in my car trunk, being used to wrap up a pub glass.

Hopefully, I’ll keep reducing the plastic I use and it will take a lot longer than 18 months to fill the bag again.

Photo: A mattress bag stuffed with plastic bags on display outside a downtown Chico business on West First Street on Sun., Nov. 29, 2009.