Saturday, May 14, 2011

Plastic Bags

I was at the counter in the supermarket this afternoon, waiting to pay for my few and modest provisions, when I was reminded, yet again, that I had forgotten to bring a shopping bag with me. There was one in the car, but with my packets and cans and tins and bottles and vacuum-packed goods all waiting on the check-out tray, I had to bow to conformity and common sense and buy a plastic bag for a nominal couple of céntimos. They don't give them away for free any more, in solidarity with Mother Earth. How could I possibly complain about such a thing?
This whole plastic bag thing is an important gesture towards the environment. We must be true to our unborn future generations. We have been using plastic for years in ways which are an abomination and no doubt our land-fills are full of untold millions of tons of the stuff. I thank our leaders for showing us the way.
Of course, in the old days, we didn't have throw-away razors (with five or more blades for a really close shave: thanks Gillette), or disposable lighters. We washed and returned our beer bottles and left the milk bottles outside for the milkman. Alright, maybe it wasn't exactly milk here, but they used to wink gamely at you and call it 'leche'. Corks were made from an amusing thing called 'cork' which comes from a 'tree'. Goods came in a wrapper rather than lost in an unnecessarily large presentation box. A butcher chopped up your bits of meat, rather than the cooler-counters piled high with Styrofoam trays of sliced viands, vacuum-packed to last.
Fruit juice came in a fruit. Meat was wrapped in paper. Many items for baby were washable and re-usable and you could bring your own container to fill with oil. Water was just water and not a whole shelf of different brands all in their own uniquely-shaped bottles. I shan't go on since I'm sure you get my point, but consider this:
If the new rule on plastic bags are a small step back from the insanity of our throw-away culture - then why don't they give us our groceries in paper bags, like they do in America?


Colin said...

Hear, hear.

rj said...

well i have to say, throwing away billions of paper bags instead of plastic ones may be a tad better but - best to get used to grab the reusable ones on the way out, just as automatically as one takes the wallet and the keys.