No Plastic bags! Please!
I don’t hesitate to say “No” to plastic bags. But, ever noticed the facial expression of a vendor, when you say the words “No! I don’t want plastic bag!”. A totally puzzled face that turns into a huge exclamation mark made out of skeletal bones. The vendors are instinctively driven to pack your purchase in a plastic bag. Be it a super market or a street vendor, their first action would be to pull out that plastic bag and stuff your things in it. I find it very difficult to communicate my “hatred for plastic bags” to them. I have to repeat it over and over, until they recover from their initial shock, after shock, questions and finally exclamations.
Consumer awareness is there. The hazards of plastic and its consequent choke effects on the environment is well known to most of the educated masses and a few less-educated citizens. The problem is laziness and a feeling of awkwardness. We feel lazy to store a plastic plastic bags to reusing them later. We sometimes forget to carry our own bag and we are super lazy to go back to get it. Always lazy to get the bag from the baggage counter after billing. It has become a trend to carry nothing on us, until the shopping is done. Its not in the trending fashion to carry a shopping bag. The hands are busy, either in the pockets or holding the mobile phone. We feel awkward to carry our own bags and totally awkward to tell the person in the counter, that I have my own bag! When a couple of heads turn towards you, when we say “No Plastic”, the awkwardness is at its peak. So laziness combined with awkwardness, together contributes to the murder of our conscience and get the things packed in a big fancy looking branded plastic bag.
Actually that’s not it. Bin Bags! People have found a new way to use plastic shopping bags. They use it to protect (condomize) their dustbins and keep it clean. They just dump their waste into a plastic bag lined to their bins and later tie them up and throw it away. The main idea behind not using a plastic bag is that, its not biodegradable when disposed. So using a plastic bag for disposing your waste is a contradictory action. My neighbour asks for extra plastic bags from supermarkets to be used as bin bags. (She apparently runs away from plastic bags now, after my repeated lectures)
Now lemme assume that you have over come your laziness, feeling of awkwardness and the habit to condomize your dustbins. Are things much smoother now? I don’t think so. The super markets, shopping centers and vendors much also pitch in to this initiative. They must encourage their customers to bring their own bags. The staff must be trained and be informed about the ecological effects of plastic bags. A word of caution, paper bags are not the solution. In-fact they harm the environment more than plastic bags.
The best solution is a reusable canvas bag. So next time, you go out for your weekend shopping, be sure to shop for the canvas bag (…if you don’t have one already) as the first item in the list. Always have a shopping bag in your trunk as a spare. And next time when people turn head at you, when you say no to plastics, dont feel awkward. Instead feel happy that you are spreading the awareness.
I am happy that I have managed to keep my house, plastic bag free. I have spread the plastic-bag-allergy to a couple of relatives and another family friend. I would be happier if the initiative spreads to more houses via this blog.
Long live our planet and Happy Earth Day!