I have been monitoring my behavior over the last week closely. I do use more plastic bags than I thought. Every time I go to the gas station and pick up a snack I use one. Every time I pick of milk and creamer for my mom at the grocery store, I use at least 4. Every time I go to pick up a prescription and or grab something to bring to work with me I use one. I have used a total of 23 plastic bags in the last week, and it was a pretty average week.
I think that many things influence when I participate in this behavior. The most important is probably cultural norms. According to an article by de Groot, Abrahamse & Jones (2013), the more normative the limiting of plastic bag usage is, the more it is seen. This means that when bringing your own bags to the store becomes a normal behavior that you see exhibited in others, the more you will engage in it yourself. I tend not to bring bags with me because grabbing them out of the car I notice people looking at what I’m doing whether it is my boyfriend or others. Some think it is pretentious or like a “better than thou” attitude to be concerned with your own effects on the environment. It is seen this way because it is not yet the established norm in our society, though it is becoming more prevalent. As I mentioned in a previous post, my mother brings bags with her every time she goes grocery shopping. This is where it is seen as normal most. In other locations such as a flee market, a pharmacy, a convenience store, or a gas station it is looked upon as out of place.
Another obstacle to my behavior change will be my mood and how tired I am. When I am just running into a store for a second to grab something and they hand me a bag I will have a hard time saying no to it and telling them to put it back. If I have bought a lot of things and forgotten my bags will I go out of the store and bag the things out of the back of my car? I will see what happens and what challenges I face. I feel this behavior will be easier to change alone, but with others it may be challenging. I am saying goodbye to bags and I will hopefully save some resources in the process.
de Groot, J. I. M., Abrahamse, W., Jones K., Persuasive normative messages: The influence of injunctive and personal morms on using free plastic bags. SUSTAINABILITY :5 ,5,1829-1844.2013.