I've been long fed-up with the collection of plastic shopping bags I accumulate from grocery shopping only to have them 'recycled' in some Chinese incinerator. This is not to mention the lovely elongation behavior of low-density polyethylene when you've got a 4L jug of milk in one bag. For some reason I don’t like cutting off the circulation to my fingers whenever I go out to buy milk.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of reusable shopping bags seem to be made out of some sissified natural fibre with some smarmy hippy logo on the side. Edmonton, being a city of pimped-up pickup trucks that have never had a load in the bed, let alone been off-road, doesn't always appreciate hemp bags with a cannabis label on the side.
What I want is a basic rugged, square-bottom bag with wide handles. So do any of my readers have any recommendations (assuming I still have any -- I hope you're all RSS subscribers...)?
On a different tack, CBC has been running a 'reality' television series called Code Green. Homeowners are given $15,000 to renovate their residence in order to reduce the amount of electricity, water, and heat that they consume. After the renovations are complete the homes are monitored for a month to determine how well they have done. Each installation then competes against other families to see who can reduce their carbon footprint the most, with the top team winning a Toyota Prius.
A colleague of mine were discussing how screwed up this competition would be if you tried to run it for apartment renters rather than homeowners. Take my case: I don't pay for heat or hot water, just electricity. However, the largest source of electricity consumption in my apartment is the refrigerator, an appliance that is the responsibility of my landlord. As such we have this messed up benefits for conservation. If I reduce my hot water consumption, my landlord saves money. If my landlord replaces my fridge, I save money. The problem is obvious. I can open the window in the winter to let in fresh air and totally ignore the extra natural gas burning the building's boiler. My colleague doesn't even pay for power.
This is an obvious area in which government regulation on the way this consumption is paid for would be beneficial. My coin-operated laundry costs $1.75 for washing and $1.25 for drying. I pay the same price for washing in hot or cold water. Ben@theWatt.com has already noted that apartment washers are basically a big cash cow for apartment owners but wouldn't it be nice to have a slightly smarter system where I could pay less for washing with cold water rather than warm or hot?