Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Plastic Bag Ban Sacked

The ban on plastic bags for large stores here in town failed to pass at the Town Meeting last night.

It wasn't time. The intentions of the two Tantasqua High School students that first brought the idea of a ban to the attention of the town were admirable. It showed great deal of thought, responsibility, and a desire to do good for their community. It just wasn't the time.

As mentioned in a previous post, both paper and plastic have their pitfalls, but to ban one, and to expect the Board of Health to monitor compliance is asking for a lot at this time. That would require more man hours, and funding.

I'm not sure that banning the bags at only certain stores, and not at others, would have been fair. I realize that small stores survive on a smaller margin and operating changes can be felt far easier than with the large stores, but if the ban was to go into effect, maybe it could have included the smaller stores at a later date.

No matter. It didn't pass. I have been buying those cloth sacks to use when I do my Wal*Mart run, or grocery shopping. We bought them not so much to keep the plastic bags out of our lives, since every one of those bags that enters our home will have additional duties to perform before they are tossed away. We bought them because they hold more, are strong as all get out, and I won't have an item tear the bag and let loose a landslide of produce onto the parking lot.

Cracked spaghetti sauce jars, run away cans of soda, and veggies that hide under the other cars in the parking lot. I've cursed those bags for years. So, no more double bagging, just fill that cloth sucker to the top, please. And, since I do use the plastic bags around the house for all sorts of things like lining the waste baskets, disposing small messes, and packing off left overs for company, I will occasionally leave my cloth sacks at home, and restock on those plastic ones.

I realize that my actions won't save the environment. My reasons are to change a personal habit, and make things a bit easier for me. Self serving reasons, I know, but when others also do it for reasons of their own, it can begin to have some impact.

So, I guess an impact could still be made, eventually, as more folks begin to use the reusable bags, or the "It's-all-about-me-bags", as time goes on.

Change takes time, and can be done well, and faster, when the benefits directly, and immediately affect us.

Yep. It's all about me this time.


  1. At first, I wasn't happy with the thought of giving up my plastic bags. I do recycle them for uses around the house. I thought the students could have started with educating the public first then a more drastic measure.

    Because of this issue brought forward, I bought the recycle bags and I must say it made me feel good inside! I applaud the two young students for making many people more conscience about this issue. You might think you have lost - but in many respects you won! Thanks for converting me and thank you site manager for a nice story!

  2. Don't go looking for the resuable bags at Wal-Mart. Before Town Meeting they were in front of every register, now, not a one to be found! Shaw's and Stop & Shop still have them.
    A little off the subject but in the same vein, when are we going to start taking pride in our Town and stop throwing trash out of our car windows?
    I have to place a good part of the blame on our high school kids, take a ride up 148 and see the plastic bags and cups from our fast food resturants, its a disgrace.

  3. Dear Ginger,
    Funny how things change when the threat is gone isn't it? One way to get them to put the bags back is to hold up the line till the reusable bags are presented for you to purchase.

    I agree about the litter in town, but I have seen adults toss coffee cups, paper, bottles and other things from their cars as they drove down Rt. 148. I can't tell you some of the stuff i have found in the grass. Is there a anit-litter by-law in town? If so, what is the fine? Can the fine be increased locally? And, maybe some new fancy anti-littering signs with the fine on them will help curb the flow of trash. Sounds like a good topic to explore further...

  4. This bag is useful for shoppers. I agree with all of you here. .This bag is useful.


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