Next time you visit your local grocery store they probably won't be asking you, ``Paper or plastic?'' They'll probably ask something like, ``Is plastic OK?'' It seems that our friends of the paper persuasion have been hit even harder by rising prices than the plastics industry has. Grocery stores suddenly are finding that plastic bags are much cheaper than paper, so they are asking customers to use plastic bags, then recycle them. Many stores have bins for unwanted plastic bags.
When the bagger at my local Safeway asks me, ``Is plastic OK?'' I reply, ``Plastic is fantastic,'' in a voice loud enough to be heard three checkouts over. Usually I get looks from people wondering whether I'm a frustrated poet or if I really think plastic grocery bags are wonderful.
It's been interesting to watch this battle of the grocery bags. As the green movement begins to pale, I've noticed that many people have become more plastics-friendly. They even smile when I use the Jon Huntsman axiom, ``I'd rather use old dinosaurs than new trees.''
Those of us who actually like using plastic don't have to feel ashamed to ask for it, or feel like we have to slink out of the store with our plastic bags hidden under our coats. Maybe we have the American Plastics Council and its prime-time commercials to thank. Or perhaps people are returning to the road of common sense that's replacing the hype. Tree-huggers can take heart in the news. Plastics, after all, can help save our wood resources, which means they will have more trees to hug in the future.
It's nice to see the war winding down, even if it is primarily for economic reasons. Under the skin, our goals are the same: We all want a clean, safe environment in which we use our limited resources wisely.