I feel like such a fraud checking out with my cage-free eggs and organic kale and then having to say, “Yes, plastic bags will be fine” because once again, I’ve forgotten my reusable, “green” bags in the back of the car.

It tends to slip my mind when I’m lugging a 25 pound car seat on my elbow, desperately trying to hold onto my three year old’s reluctant hand in the busy parking lot while racking my brain trying to answer the question, “Did I lock the car?” as my other children dart through the automatic glass doors. In fact, it’s not until the checkout lady asks to swipe my “values card” that I smack my own forehead-Doh! The bags!! Great, I’ve just killed another panda bear.

I believe there are many shades of green in our complex, changing world. I range somewhere around the shop-at-farmer’s-markets but still-heavily-rely-on-disposable-diapers, lighter shade of green. Chartreuse, probably. Baby steps, right?

I’m all for walking instead of driving when possible, but I still can’t function without my paper towels. My smoothies are green but I don’t have a green thumb. I own several reusable water bottles but can never seem to find one in a pinch and end up using the awful plastic ones more often than not.

I vacillate between utter guilt at not having someplace productive to toss out my kitchen scraps like a heaping pile of decaying compost complete with 500 pet worms, to overwhelming gratitude towards the City’s Sanitation Department on trash day.

I just spent the night at a hotel and thoughtlessly tossed my towel on the floor after an indulgent hot bath before reading the little placard there on the rack. Hmmm, if I pick up the now hotel-floor-germ-infested towel to use again I save the rainforest. Leave it there and I can say goodbye to yet another acre of oxygen producing exotic canopy. Snap! When did the world get so tricky? When did hotel towels become so politically charged?

I have so many questions. Are water-balloons a litter no-no now? What am I supposed to do with old AA batteries again? What’s the rule with eco-friendly cars if you have lots of car seats to fit in there? Do they make a gas-sipping eight-seater?

I want to be a good steward. Waste not, want not, one baby step at a time. So what I need right now is a way to cleverly recycle the 200+ plastic shopping bags squished up in my cupboard and have some fail-safe way of remembering my “green” bags on my next shopping trip.

I know, I’ll make a little placard for the dash.

Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com