Classic SCS: Why is there grass at the gas station?

I’ll be back soon with fresh SCS, but while I’m on a mini-vacay, please enjoy this vintage Sin City Siren post from May 21, 2007 (aka the first month of The Siren!):

Why is there grass at the gas station?

I was waiting at a red light today when I noticed that on the corner a young fellow was mowing the grass in front of the sign at the gas station. WTF?! This drives me crazy! For those of you who live in Las Vegas (or other desert regions), I ask you: Why is there grass at the gas station?

Not only is Southern Nevada (indeed much of the Western US) in the midst of a serious drought, but we live in a DESERT! Grass (and palm trees) is not native to the desert! It costs a lot to water, maintain, etc. Why bother?! If you want to live somewhere that you can have a luscious green lawn, then go move there! Las Vegas ain’t it! Get over it!

And in somewhat related eco-ranting, I wanted to share with you my thoughts about plastic shopping bags:

Don’t my groceries look delicious and snuggly in my environmentally friendly, reusable shopping tote? I’ve made a conscious decision to stop using plastic grocery bags (and paper) whenever possible. And it’s pretty simple to go sans bag.

Consider this: You don’t need a bag for your bag of cat litter or a bag for the shoes that are already in a box! It’s easy to just carry it out with the receipt. You don’t always need a freakin’ bag!

Frankly, I hope anyone who reads this will do the same. Just carry a tote with you, in your purse or in the trunk of your car. IT IS SO EASY! During the last two weeks I’ve refused at least 30 shopping bags. You can too!

And leaving the plastic bags behind lessens our dependence on petroleum products: The average American uses 300 to 700 shopping bags a year, which equates to about 3 to 7 gallons of crude oil!

At the very least, please start recycling your plastic shopping bags! The EPA estimates that only 1% of all plastic bags are recycled.

Need a reason? They’re free and easy right here:

1. Plastic bags (and paper for that matter) basically don’t biodegrade in landfills. According to the EPA, it can take 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose while it only takes a month for a paper bag. That means every time you use one as a garbage bag or just bunch them up and throw them out, they just sit there and in some cases hinder biodegradation of items inside. (The exception is the new corn-based biodegradable kind.) So even though plastic bags might take 40% less energy to produce than paper, since they are less likely to be recycled and take so long to decompose, they are worse for the earth.

2. According to Glamour Magazine, approximately 14 regular plastic grocery bags equals one mile of gas for a car. To put it another way, according to the Sierra Club, when one ton of plastic bags are reused or recycled it saves 11 barrels of oil!

3. Do you like animals? How about nature? Both are constantly getting littered with bags. Worse yet, sometimes animals get trapped in them and die.

4. Last month San Francisco became the first US city to ban petroleum-based plastic bags. (They will allow reusable totes, recyclable paper bags and corn-based plastic bags.) According to National Geographic, there are more than 500 million bags are created each year in the US and a trillion worldwide! It has become such a nuisance and problem that some countries have banned them: Ireland, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia and Bangladesh.

5. In fact, even the EPA advises that Americans use reusable cloth shopping bags rather than paper or plastic!

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