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Save Yourself From Chicago’s 7-Cent Bag Tax

By Stacey Zapalac | Feb 23, 2017

With Mother Earth on the verge of going supernova any day now, Chicago has decided to do its part (again) to help the environment. Earlier this month, the Windy City repealed its controversial plastic bag ban and instead enacted a new 7-cent per bag tax on disposable plastic and paper shopping bags.

Once again, we’re challenged with actually remembering to grab those reusable bags every time we leave the house. Implement the following tote strategy and never get stuck paying extra again.

Public shaming

Peer pressure is a powerful thing. You are bound to feel it when you’re the only shopper carrying a plastic Walgreens bag down the street while everyone else is schlepping a Trader Joe’s reusable tote. You feel shameful when a fellow shopper throws Beyoncé-style side eye your way when you ask for your milk to be double-bagged in plastic. Soul-crushing peer pressure is a surefire way to help you remember those environmentally-friendly sacks, and it’s one of the only things that costs less than seven cents.

Brand yourself

You could write a little note on your hand with Sharpie, but that’s guaranteed to wash off. Why not hit the closest tattoo parlor and have a permanent reminder branded on your body? A cute tribal tote bag or a tote with Nana’s name and angle wings might look hip while simultaneously serving as a functional notice that you’re an environmental bad-ass. Plus, disposable plastic bags are only around for 500-1000 years before they break down. A tat lasts forever.

Hoarder mentality

They give you a tote when you open up a bank account. They’re forced on you at festivals and conventions. You even get one when shopping at your local medical marijuana dispensary. The bags seem to multiply like rabbits. Instead of purging them, embrace your inner hoarder and let your bag pile grow and flourish. Stack them from floor to ceiling in every room of your house.  You can’t forget something you can’t escape.   

Tote stylist

Reusable bags come in some cute designs, but let’s face it, they’re not the most fashion-forward accessories. Hire a professional tote stylist to find you the latest and greatest in reusable tote fashion. Who would ever leave behind a bag that even the most persnickety fashionista would call “totes adorbs”?

Aerial cues

When you hear something flying in the sky, you immediately look up. Tap into that natural instinct and hire a sky writer to remind you not to waste your money on those seven-cent bags. If signs are more your thing, an eye-catching aerial banner can also get the job done. If all else fails, consider hiring a can’t-miss Zeppelin carrying a reusable tote reminder. Nothing shows your commitment to the environment like a reminder from the Hindenburg. 

This post is also published in the Thursday print edition of RedEye Chicago.

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Stacey Zapalac (@smzapalac) is a humor writer who has studied improv, writing and satire at The Second City Training Center in Chicago.

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