It's Not Green Being Easy

18 April 2008

Sense is prevailing on the issue of banning of plastic bags, at least for now. Australian environmental ministers have agreed not to introduce a national ban on the things.

As someone who at least tries to be environmentally friendly, one may think I'd be all in favour of a ban, viewing plastic bags as a scourge on the environment. Well, yes they can be. But...I don't drive a car. The idea that supermarkets try to promote to increase "green bag" usage is that people will leave their bags in the car, so they're always conveniently available. If you don't drive, what are you supposed to do - carry half a dozen green bags everywhere you go in case you buy something?

A slogan one of the major supermarket chains uses is "Green bags aren't green if you leave them in the car!". I'd submit that, I'm sorry, but green bags aren't green if you're driving a car. Sure, they may make one feel better, but the damage done by plastic bags is dwarfed by the damage done by cars. I've been "tut-tutted" by fellow shoppers at checkouts for requesting bags, and I usually enquire as to the person's mode of transport to the shop. It always works, though admittedly it worked better in Newcastle than Sydney's inner west.

Anyway, I reuse bags as bin liners, and to take care of various substances that are a by-product of cat ownership. Were it not for supermarket bags, I'd have to buy these bags seperatley.

And what about the enormous amount of packaging that's on, well, absolutely everything these days? Have you bought a bottle of water and tried to open the thing lately? How about the hypocrisy of the supermarkets promoting plastic bags when 1. giving out fewer bags will save them money, and 2. they offer fuel discounts?

Sorry, I'm getting way too worked up. I'm going for a lie-down, but before I do, please don't take plastic bags away unless you're serious about doing it for the right reasons.


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