Hide Those Plastic Bags Quick! The Green Police Are Coming!

green police carShhhh . . . the green police are coming.

I had a party to celebrate my 40th birthday and invited several of my “green” friends. I was so excited for them to come – some of them I only knew from blogging and was thrilled to meet them in person. But, what did I do in advance of the party? Did I clean arrange flowers, set out decorations? Not really. I did do some of that. But what I spent most of my time doing was hiding stuff. The not so green stuff we have.

I have always leaned towards green. I was probably just light green until my 30s. I became much more “green” after trying to get pregnant. Once pregnant, my crunchiness became pathological and I quickly moved to an emerald shade of green. My husband was fine with my craziness while I was pregnant. He patiently pumped my gas – I refused to pump gas because I didn’t want to be exposed to benzene. We bought organic food and used green cleaners.

But once a mom, being green just stuck, although I eased up a bit. My husband remains tolerant. Or at least he fakes it well. When we were remodeling (of course, while I had a baby), he agreed to formaldehyde-free insulation, no VOC paints, recycled wood floors, engineered quartz counter tops, true linoleum flooring, and wool carpets with jute backing. Of course, it’s pretty hard to refuse your wife when she is demanding a safe environment for your child or children-to-be.

He puts up with not heating in plastic. He supported the organic mattress for our bed and flame-retardant-free pads for our kids’ beds. But he doesn’t quite get it. It isn’t part of his thinking. So, it means we end up with a bunch of decidedly non-green stuff when he goes shopping.

My husband will shop at Costco and proudly comes home with industrial sized cling wrap, huge boxes of single serve snacks, triple packs of Ziploc bags, and canned goods. I appreciate that he is willing to go shopping for the home. He actually likes taking the kids and going shopping every once in awhile at Costco. Why I have no idea, as the thought of two kids running around Costco on a Saturday afternoon is not my idea of fun. But he does it.

However, the disadvantage of having my husband shop is that I have to contend with hiding the fact that we have disposable plastic bags because my husband purchased enough to last us until 2015, especially since I carefully wash the ones I do use and re-use them. And that we have single serve snacks, lots of them. Single serve containers of mandarin oranges. Single serve containers of apple sauce. Single serve containers are just plain stupid. They cost more. They waste a ton of packaging. I buy bulk and then use re-usable containers for my kids – from applesauce (which is better homemade anyway) to granola bars. But not my husband. He thinks single serve containers are much more convenient – and their contribution to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t really in his thoughts.

It is difficult to be angry because he is always proud of himself. A man who shops for the home is a keeper, right? So, I keep trying to educate him, but he just hasn’t become a conscious consumer yet. In the meantime, I will keep hiding stuff from the green police.

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. You can read more about Jennifer’s adventures going green and find some non toxic solutions for the home at her personal blog, TheSmartMama. Smart mamas do it all naturally!

4 Responses to Hide Those Plastic Bags Quick! The Green Police Are Coming!
  1. Donielle @ Raising Peanuts
    October 29, 2008 | 7:21 am

    Oh – my husband is the same way. I WISH I could convince him we need and organic mattress! No such luck anytime the organic version costs more than the conventional version. :-P

    But I keep trying where I can, and am picky about the things I do for me and my kiddo, but don’t worry so much about him. (like heating food in plastic) He just doesn’t care…..yet. One day I hope to switch him over! :-)

  2. Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish
    October 30, 2008 | 4:32 am

    Thanks for outing yourself. It makes the rest of us breathe a little easier.

    My advice: stop hiding. None of us is perfect. We are all doing as much as we can and hoping to get better. I never hide my husband’s plastic, although I’ll admit I do find myself explaining it to people when they come over. “Those are Michael’s energy bars. Those are Michael’s yogurt containers.”

    But you know what? Michael’s yogurt containers came in very handy this past weekend for dividing up a week’s worth of homemade cat food that I’ve finally learned how to make.

    And Michael is really, really trying. He just gave a briefing to the attorneys at his firm (he’s a law librarian) about the new recycling system in their office. So, while he’s more of a recycle guy than a reduce guy, he’s MY guy and I love him!


  3. Stephanie - Green SAHM
    November 2, 2008 | 12:09 am

    My husband is much the same way. I try to keep my daughter’s lunch in reusable containers… he prefers to use Ziploc baggies for things that don’t even need bags, such as whole apples.

    He’s a bit better at Costco, and doesn’t buy the single serve snacks so much. Instead I have to watch out for the junk that he’ll buy for himself. We’ve had to pretty much agree to disagree on what he packs for his lunches at work. He buys these instant noodle things that just have to be horrible for him, rather than try bringing leftovers, even when I offer to package them up the night before or keep a supply in the freezer.

    But we’re getting there. Old habits are hard to break for most of us.

  4. Rob O.
    November 4, 2008 | 1:33 pm

    Oddly enough, I’m the more eco-friendly in our household. My wife buys into the convenience factor of those single-serving items, but I’d rather buy large jars of applesauce to divvy up, make my own pudding cups, and chop up my own veggies for fingerfood snacks for our toddler. But I’ve been working on her a little at a time and am making some real headway.

    I started with using reusable shopping bags and she got into that fairly quickly. Lately, I’ve made some strides in getting her to help place plastics that can be recycled into a special trash container in the garage next to the main garbage can. And my newest effort is to convince her to use a nifty travel mug instead of disposable cups for her coffee each morning.

    It takes time and persistence, but we’re working to be less wasteful and gradually become greener.