Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eli McCann: World's Leading Environmentalist

You guys. I done be savin' the world up in here!

Because yesterday I finally put my foot down for the environment. And America. And righteousness. Hashtag 'merica.

There's this place at the food court in the building in which I work that has great food. I frequent this place because it's convenient and relatively healthy. But every time I go there, I feel a stabbing pain in the center of my tree-hugging soul. This is because they hand you your order in a completely and totally unnecessary plastic bag.

It drives me crazy. They wrap my tiny sandwich in paper and then place it in this ridiculous plastic bag so I can carry it for 20 seconds and discard it. So I always tell them I don't actually need the bag. They give me a confused look, pull the sandwich out of it, and then sometimes throw the bag away anyway.

I feel like I'm living a version of that Dr. Seuss book where they chop down all the trees to make an elevator button. Or however that story went. (I'm too lazy to verify on the googles). 

And what's worse, it's not just me that is forced into having a plastic bag. Every single "to go" meal purchased at this very popular place is also placed in a completely unnecessary plastic bag that then goes and sits in a landfill FOR TIME AND ALL ETERNITY.


And the bag doesn't even make carrying the lunch more convenient. It is absolutely no easier to hold the bag than it is to just hold the sandwich, which is wrapped in paper anyway. If anything, the bag is more inconvenient because I have an extra thing of which to dispose.

So finally, I had had enough. I was exactly like J-Lo in that movie. I even took a martial arts class for like a year because of how upset I was about this. As it turned out, the martial arts class wasn't really helpful for dealing with this problem. But it taught me how to scream at a higher pitch, which will come in handy when Jolyn Metro inflicts whatever act of horror she has up her sleeve next April Fool's Day.

I decided to contact the business about this. I found their Facebook Page and sent a message through that forum.

I have a hard time criticizing small businesses. I get this from Cathie. When we stayed in Tahoe for the Ironman, we were all at a very rundown and gross hotel. Cathie and Nic bonded over complaining about this while Bob and I rolled our eyes. Then when we got back to Salt Lake City, Cathie informed me that she had written a "scathing review" on Yelp about this hotel. Wondering what a "scathing review" from Cathie might look like, I went onto the Internet that very night and found it:

We stayed at this hotel for a few days while visiting Tahoe for the Ironman. The hotel staff was so nice and lovely! We appreciated all of the hard work they put into making our stay as comfortable as possible! The cute lady at the front desk was a gem and we just loved her beautiful smile and welcoming nature. She should get a raise! :) One small suggestion I would consider is to try to update the rooms a little bit and fix the window problem. It got a little drafty. I know these are big tasks for a small business and I don't mean to criticize because I love to see small businesses thrive, but it's something that could help you be even better than you already are! Cathie.

You guys. The Tahoe City Inn is SHAKING IN ITS BOOTS right now.

So with that, I wrote a message of my own to the plastic-bag-wasters downstairs, telling them that I love their establishment but that I think they ought to get rid of the bags. Or at the very least start asking people whether they need a bag before assuming that every person wants one. Because I'm guessing that the vast majority of people would decline it. I even offered to promote their business on Stranger if they were willing to make a change.

They immediately responded, politely thanking me for the suggestion and telling me that they would discuss it in their next meeting. And so now we wait. 

But this all has me thinking, if they really do make a change based off of this one little message I sent, that could save thousands and thousands of plastic bags from going the landfill in the future. And I have to wonder how much good we could all do if everyone would encourage simple changes to the businesses around us or otherwise help further stigmatize unnecessary waste.

Hang on. I'm going to go outside and chain myself to a tree.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Very noble, very kind, very environmentally friendly....and all with great hair. Good job, now go lawyer something up, return the balance.

  2. Eli McCann, friend to the gays, sex slaves, and trees. I see a very long list of awards and honoree banquets in your future!

  3. ...or you could find that cute lil plastic recycle bin that is EVERYWHERE and lop it in there. ;)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Move to my county in WA - bring your own bags. No plastic bags allowed and you have to pay for paper!

    Even when I forget all my bags and have to figure out how to make my hoodie carry a week's worth of groceries for a family of four I still pretty much feel like a rockstar.

  6. Your hair is your greatest gift to the environment.

  7. It also saves the company money. They don't need to buy as many bags - that is profit! It is great what you are doing for the environment. Paul Simon would be proud - and you look amazing today - if only my hair was a wonderful as yours.

  8. Replies
    1. No, actually. A smaller and less-known place that uses plastic grocery sacks. Although Subway is an offender as well.

  9. Like Kara said could recycle it or reuse it at home or the office for a number of things. It is annoying that a lot of businesses unnecessarily give out plastic bags all the time, but the blame doesn't stop with them if you are the one throwing it in the trash directly after that.

    1. It all depends if they recycle plastic bags in your city, and if they have recycling bins around to actually throw them into. I've been to a lot of places in Canada and the US where I'm looking for a recycle bin and can't find anywhere. And I usually have my eyes peeled for them. So the questions is, does the city have recycle bins, and secondly, do they recycle plastic bags. Because if they don't they just end up in the garbage. It's sad how many cities I've been to with no recycling bins anywhere.

    2. Oh and just one other thing. Just making those bags is bad for the environment, so just because you can recycle them, doesn't mean you should hand them out.

    3. Even if every single person recycled the bags, it's still a huge and mostly pointless waste. Recycling is not the answer.

    4. ugh!
      Now an enemy is going to take your statement out of context and use it against you.

      Eli says, "recycling is not the answer"

      You're doomed.

  10. I thought you meant subway as well at first, but I figured out it wasn't after you said it was a small business. But yeah...thanks subway for giving me a bag when I'm going to sit down 2 feet from the register! It's ridiculous. I'm a big time environmental person (I wouldn't say environmentalist unless you consider my complaining about everything this planet does wrong and not really doing anything about it outside of what I and my family do "environmentalist"). I can't stand half the crap the people on this planet do to wreck it (myself included). But you're right, how hard is it for those of us that care about the environment to just send an email saying, "hey man, use common sense and stop being stupid"...Ok not like that, more like "Kind sir or madam, doing this is not good for the environment and it's probably costing you x amount of dollars. Maybe doing such and such instead would be better for both". Plus it's WAY more constructive then me wanting to sock someone in the head for doing stupid things.

    Can you tell I'm a tad passionate about this?

    But yeah, applause to you for doing that. You may need to keep on them though.

  11. SO I just gone done teaching this in my HS science classes.
    It is not feasible to some companies to actually recycle the bags so those recycle bins of bags actually end up being sold to third world countries and they resuse the bags for their purposes. It is a dirty, high energy industry to recycle plastics and takes up a lot of money to do it so a lot of times they just export it to other places.
    And using them as trash bags is almost as bad since it just ends up in the trash as well and doesn't biodegrade for over 1 million years.
    I love that places don't offer them anymore. We should have to bring our own. SO thank you for standing up for the environment, "“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” Now I am getting off my soapbox. thank you for your time, And yes I have the quote memorized I read it A lot!!!

  12. Can we really be sure that review was from Cathie as it was not followed up by XOXO?

  13. Living in Los Angeles county, as I do, all of the grocery stores charge (like a nickel) for every paper bag you request; some offer a discount (like a nickel) for every reusable bag you bring in, and NO ONE offers plastic anymore. RESTAURANTS offer plastic; some more than others. I use them to collect trash in my car because they are incredibly convenient for keeping my car tidy, and the handles allow them to hang from my shifter at the feet of any passenger I may have. What I Wish For are more carpooling opportunities. Can you help me out with THAT one, Eli?

    btw, smashing hairfest today. just smashing.

  14. We could just pass a law that if you want a bag you have to pay 10 cents a bag. California has the law and ALL the clerks ask if you want a bag and it also makes the consumer REALLY think about if they need the bag. Anyway, that was my experience in the Bay Area recently. When I really needed the bag, it was worth a dime, when I didn't need the bag, I was happy about saving the dime. win/win

  15. Have they stopped selling you sandwiches yet? "No sandwich for you!"