Don’t be a dick

We know plastic bags are bad for the environment. We’ve known this for years. Nothing new here.

But… we still use them. We use them quite a lot. We use millions of them. Not every year, but everyday.

We have waited for our governments to do something about plastic bags. Some have added small fees, a few have taken real action and banned them altogether. Some companies have got bored of waiting for their governments and stopped giving them out themselves. But still, a vast number of people still say yes to the question, “Would you like a bag?”

My question is, “Is this acceptable?”

Lets just take a moment to think what the realistic longevity of a plastic bag being used actually is:

  • Fill it with groceries – 1 minute
  • Walk to our car/home – 1-15 minutes
  • Empty the bag once we get home – 1 minute

That’s it.

This bag, that has potentially completed it’s full carrying career after as little as 3 minutes, will now retire and remain on the planet for between 20-1000 years (no idea why this range is so large!?). While I’m all for working less, this is taking the piss a bit.

Well, maybe it’s time to change our stance on baggers and baggees (just made those words up). Sure, we aren’t perfect, sometimes you’re distracted, the baggers seize the opportunity, put your stuff in the bag before you can refuse. But, these should be one offs. Accidental occurrences that make us feel guilty. When we are paying attention we should be saying “No Thanks”. If we can remember our wallets to go to the shop, then, maybe, we can remember a reusable bag. If we forget the bag, then, perhaps, we need to go home and get it, or better yet, suck it up and carry things home. We are quite resourceful. We have pockets, arms, teeth. Shouldn’t it be us that suffers due to our mistake not the planet?

And, maybe, we shouldn’t be so polite around those that still take and hand out bags.

If you have a friend who repeatedly takes 3, 4, 5 bags at a time, double bagging just to be safe,

If you have a family member who says “It’s OK, I’ll reuse it” and adds it to their growing collection of used once bags in the cupboard,

If you have a colleague who takes a bag without a second thought, a bag filled with only one item, and then proceeds to carry the bag not by the handles but by holding the item itself, removing any use for the bag at all,

If you shop somewhere that’s default is to put items in a bag without asking and doesn’t offer any alternative to plastic,

Well, maybe, you need to tell them they’re a dick.

 

Josh

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