Please grant me plastic-bag amnesty |

Please grant me plastic-bag amnesty

Su Lum
Aspen, CO Colorado

Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I come before you to plead for the guilt-free right to choose plastic bags at the local markets.

I use my lightweight plastic bags. I line my wastepaper baskets with them. I carry the rhubarb and vegetables from my garden in them. I put flour in them and shake meat and chicken parts in the bags when preparing stews and fried chicken.

Above all, I pick up dog poop with them.

Is this not preferable to buying boxes of heavier plastic bags for these purposes?

I submit to the court that I have a low carbon footprint. The VW I bought on Feb. 2, 2001, has less than 26,000 miles on it. I do not drive downvalley to shop, though local shopping has its hazards, and the Beetle has been hit and scraped many times by unknown assailants ” perhaps some of you are among them.

Your honor, I swear that I do not buy bottled water. My refrigerator contains a purifier, which promises a lot but at least takes away the taste of chlorine in the water and ice, and that suffices.

Nor do I buy beer or soft drinks. I bought the funny light bulbs.

I recycle my juice, wine and brandy bottles, the local newspapers, 99 percent of my junk mail and all cans ” accumulations that still fill only half of my weekly recycle bins ” and I rarely come close to filling my expensive, bear-proof metal trash container with the rest. Unfortunately, there is no graduated price scale for trash and recycle pickup, so I pay through the nose for this service.

It should please the court that I gave birth to only two children who, in turn, produced only one grandchild, so I am not guilty of adding to the landfill with the detritus associated with over-population, though I do plead guilty to teasing our editor, Bob Ward, for being self-righteous in editorials about plastic grocery bags while commuting and living downvalley with four children.

I do not own a trophy home. My miner’s shack is 1,000 square feet, and I am not prone to rush into redecorating or remodeling projects. Indeed, I could subpoena many witnesses who would testify that it takes catastrophes to bring my attention to major matters such as leaking roofs (my roof did NOT leak this winter!), much less minor annoyances such as a rattling washing machine.

I do not have air conditioning. I do not own a private jet, an SUV or a Hummer. I do not plan to scrape my house and haul the remains to the dump to join all the construction and demolition debris presently choking our landfill.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, many residents of Aspen pay to waste. They buy TDRs to retain little shacks such as mine so they can build monster homes in the county. They buy electrical credits to pay for windmills somewhere else ” not, of course, in our backyard. In this way, they can indulge in excess without guilt.

I submit to the court that I have already paid for the right to have my groceries, which are minimal, packed in lightweight plastic bags, which I reuse. And I ask to be able to do this without feeling like a smoker in a room full of children.

I suggest “I REUSE MY PLASTIC BAGS” buttons for those who prove their case that they use their plastic bags responsibly.

In return, I swear to try to remember to carry my cloth bags into the markets when the plastic bag that holds my extra plastic bags is full.