Shopping for a story at Publix

With my grocery list and a plastic bag filled with plastic grocery bags, I’m off to Publix for a quick shopping trip.

Typically I would put those plastic bags in the recycling container at Publix. But I’m motivated by Joni Rollen, a recent speaker in MMC 2100, to reuse the bags. Joni, a program assistant in recycling for the City of Gainesville, encouraged us to reuse. She even gave me a special canvas bag to use to save plastic bags.

So I walk past the recycling container and take the bags with me on my shopping.

At checkout, the bagger asks the standard: “Is plastic OK?”

[You may remember when the question was “Paper or plastic?” But the paper bags are hidden away and only used if someone specifically requests them.]

I hand him my plastic bags and say, “Let’s just recycle right here.”

That begins a lively discussion of the bagger and checker.

Bagger: “You know California doesn’t allow plastic bags anymore.”

Checker: “We won’t be able to use them in Florida in a couple of years due to a new law.”

The bagger has watched a TV news program about plastic bags being recycled to become clothes — “really nice-looking clothes.”

Then I notice that the bagger isn’t using the bags I brought — the checker notices, too, and she starts using those bags.

“You all are going to put my buddy out of work,” the bagger says. “He recycles these plastic bags.”

I push the cart, filled with my re-used plastic bags and a few new ones, to my car.

In MMC 2100, the students have been working on their own story assignments, requiring them to identify a story with an environmental, health or science angle. Publix certainly was the place to be shopping for such a story idea. I bagged several.

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