Excerpts from letters that didn't make it
Like plastic bags, cellophane wrappers, dirty diapers, cigarette butts.
Get the picture? It's not pretty.
On return trips from points north, the amount of trash along the highways and byways increases as one travels farther south. In Corpus Christi it reaches a crescendo.
Over the weekend, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, much to its credit, ran a story on the trash generated primarily by singleuse plastic bags. These are typically used to bag purchases at grocery and convenience stores.
Corpus Christi's mayor, Henry Garrett, is taking steps to reduce the use of these bags, hoping residents will voluntarily reduce, if not eliminate, their use in an effort to stem the tide of litter caused by them. Other cities in the state, even the small Coastal Bend community of Beeville, are taking a hard look at these generators of rubbish.
I can see these bags going the way of ring tabs on beer and soft drink cans that are no longer in use, and the plastic six-pack rings for beverages that have almost, but not quite, completely disappeared.
Step one is identifying the problem, and that's not hard to do - just take a look out your car window.
Now add a little public awareness, toss in a touch of public pressure and, bingo -- people will begin to be part of the solution.
The Caller-Times story is incentive for me to do two things. One is to purchase a couple or three collapsible plastic crates that I will keep in the trunk of my car. The other is to toss one of my canvas totes in the trunk.
"Por que?" you ask.
When I go "big shopping," I will load my grocery cart, run the items through the checkout stand, tell my favorite checker that I am "plastic-free," and put those groceries right back in the cart. I will push that little cart to my car and unload the items into those plastic crates. When I get home, I'll cart those crates into the kitchen and unload them. Then, back in the trunk they'll go.
When I go "little shopping," I'll just grab that canvas tote out of the trunk and use it to cart my purchases from the store to the car and from the car into the house.
No fuss, no muss.
Plastic bags or no plastic bags, people like me are not the problem (but we can help).
A big problem is travelers, and that includes people like me, who make purchases on the run. In that case we may not have our crates or totes. We're just going to have to get used to toting them - wherever we go.
We got used to dialing seven numbers instead of four to make a local phone call.
We got used to a new area code.
We got used to a stop sign at Station Street and Lantana.
We got used to a traffic light at the "idiot intersection" (Cotter, Cut-off and J.C. Barr Boulevard).
We got used to the Ice Boxes being Circle Ks and Circle Ks being Stripes.
We got used to Park Road 53 becoming State Highway 361, even though we all call it the Island Road.
We got used to having to have the correct address (whether we like it or not) to send a letter to someone in town.
Some of us have gotten used to center turn lanes on Cotter, Alister and Cut-off Road.
If we can shoulder these changes, we can get used to not using plastic to bag our purchases at the grocery or convenience store and, instead, bringing something with us to tote our groceries.
Maybe if we turn these totes and crates into fashion statements others will catch on.
It will become the "in" thing to do. And that would be a good thing.