We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
In San Francisco, California, the Board of Supervisors voted to extend the plastic bag ban in order to encourage citizens to bring their reusable shopping bags when they go shopping. Right now, the ban only applies to major grocery stores and pharmacies but come September 1, there will not be any more plastic bags available in San Francisco. If shoppers forget their reusable shopping bag, they will be charged .10 for each paper or biodegradable bag they ask for.
Most business owners are happy about the ban because they will feel better about not contributing so much waste into the environment. Retailers that don’t comply could be fined $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 each time after that. The Department of the Environment will enforce the law.
Most shoppers are also happy, but others find the change a little harder to get use to. However, habits can be changed and there are some strategies you can use to create new habits as well as quit old habits. One way to create a new habit is to write down your plan, such as “Each day, before I leave the house, I will make sure I have at least 2 clean reusable grocery bags in the car.”
After you have written down your plan, write down the reason you have created this plan such as, “I want to use reusable grocery bags in order to feel good about doing my part to reduce waste in my environment.”
Once you have your plan and your reason, write down the steps you are going to take to carry out the plan. For instance:
- Purchase a hand full of reusable grocery bags
- Keep 2 in the chair pocket behind the passenger side of the car
- After bringing in the groceries, bring 2 new bags back out to the car
- Throw emptied reusable bags into the laundry
If you do these same actions, over and over, as part of your daily routine, eventually, making sure you have reusable shopping bags in the car will be like brushing your teeth each morning. It is important to do it everyday as spur of the moment shopping trips are always possible, and you want to be prepared.
Keep your action plan out where you will remember to use it such as hanging it on the refrigerator or posting it next to the door. It is important to have a visual reminder of the habit you are trying to form until it becomes a habit, which could take up to 60 days of consistent reading and doing.
San Franciscans can sleep better at night knowing they are positive role models for the rest of us! Way to go San Francisco!