How to bag your groceries, cloth or plastic, that is the question. Having recently returned from Europe, I am even more convinced that cloth is the sensible way to go.

Why do we need to transport our groceries in plastic? I was recently shopping in Portland and the movement is in full swing — bring your bags or carry out by hand. Not only should we, as consumers, change our reckless plastic-using habits, industry itself should make an effort to return to sensible packaging.

From the World Count in 2017: “To date, there have been 275 billion plastic bags produced worldwide in just 2017 alone. Every second, a massive amount of 160,000 plastic bags are being produced and used. By the end of this year we will have used 5 billion plastic bags.”

And from Earth Day 2018: “About 8 million metric tons of plastic or annually. Of those, 236,000 tons are microplastics — tiny pieces of broken down plastic smaller than your little fingernail.” Frightening facts considering we go through our lives removing plastic wrapping from purchases on a daily basis.

While visiting Munich I had the opportunity to visit a store called Manufactum, where their motto is “Better Living WIthout Plastic.” The products, from clothing to light fixtures, are all a part of the past when we purchased items that were built to last. The focus is on leather, glass, metal and cloth. It was refreshing to know that the companies contributing to the store are all committed to making a major change in production and distribution.

This is truly a global problem. Waterville residents should take a hard look at what is in their trash, and hopefully make one little change by making use of those extra cloth bags hanging around the home.

Laura Richter


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