Plastic Bottle Cap Art
Made by students at Bird Rock Elementary
La Jolla, CA
La Jolla, CA
I noticed a tear along the seam of Charming Baby’s lunch box – a hand-me-down overpriced nylon satchel, made in China no doubt, with a “Quicksilver” logo on it that First Born Prince used in 6th grade.
My first thought was, “Wow this lunch box lasted a long time, worth what we paid.” I remember telling him the lunch box was ridiculously priced and made him buy it with his own back-to-school shopping money. He was so excited about it; I got over myself and rejoiced in the cool attaché he had found.
I ran my fingers over the zipper of the three-year-old lunch box that CB gladly, excitedly took to replace his Target one that looked the exact same, minus the Quicksilver logo. Delighted scavenger is his reaction to all of First Born Prince’s cast-offs. I simultaneously shudder and beam at the thought.
I remember the exact moment FBP asked me if he could please have his lunch in a disposable bag instead of a lunch box. He is cunning and fox like. Waits until I am in a good mood and then uses a gentle voice with eyes slightly lowered as if he isn’t sure of the answer. I questioned him, curious to know if he wanted the freedom to toss the sack away and go play rather than having to spend the extra five minutes revisiting his locker. He knows that convenience should not trump environmental friendliness, no matter how short the lunch break. He said lunch boxes were for little kids.
I remembered my BFF telling me how her scientist mother had her daughters reuse brown paper lunch bags and also the small, thin plastic sandwich bags, the kind with a fold-top. They had to bring them home everyday. I am not sure how many uses her mother worked out of those bags but my grandfather could reuse a piece of tin foil about eight times before he gave up.
I thought about making FBP stuff the plastic Vons grocery bag – the lunch carrier of choice for La Jolla public middle school boys (it’s Lululemon reusable small totes for girls, FYI) – into his pocket and bring it home as a kiss to conservation but the bags have gotten so cheap. Thank God they are being outlawed.
We agreed that as long as he continued to carry his reusable water bottle, I’d give in to the throwaway sacks.
My agony over allowing disposable plastic bags feels akin to my reaction every time I keep quiet after I witness someone let their dog poop in public and then not pick up after it. I want to stop it. I want to take action, point out that their mongrel just defiled some grass, let them know the beast isn’t just smelling the ice plant, tell them to get off their phone for 5 minutes and pay attention.
I wonder why me, why am I the canary, the self-appointed dog poop patrol, the water-use drought Nazi, the trash and recycle bin judge?
Because I am the coonhound-walking, lunch-packing civic-minded mom in a sunhat with bags for every man who needs one, every woman who forgets one, and every child who asks for one.