In every city i visit, i find stores and entire aisles dedicated to the art of the satchel. Leather goods, plastic arts, all materials are represented in as many styles as lifestyles. Somewhere about the bustle of alleys and parks, i invariably notice women carrying bags in various stages of decay. Some push carts which are loaded with bagged possessions. Container and content part and parcel of same.
The bag has become a symbol of affluence, the more luggage, the more riches. But the baggage becomes the burden of this age. We soon are strangled by the multitude of ever thinning resources, which must be contained for fear, they will eventually possess us. Zippered, tapered, locked and snapped, Guccied or Vuittonized, trends and fashions clutter the wallet and the market—not to mention, the very planet we tend to say we love...
Sure, no designer purse will exterminate the Florida alligator. No single briefcase will decimate the Brazilian cattle. But the flimsy little bag which steams up your veggies and isolates your tub of chicken livers from the nearest Super- Mart will definitely cause some poor fish to die prematurely from ingesting pelletised plastics in the Ocean.
It is not a case of importance, but one of quantity. The US uses bags at an alarming rate; 100 billion in one consumer country; that amounts to 1500 per person. 12 billion barrels of oil, are used to fabricate the flimsy things to carry more futile objects and processed items. These bags will live between 400 and 1000 years in a multitude of stages, strangle wild life, choke fish and ducks, and finally wash down rivers to break into microscopic plastic particles to end up as carcinogenics in the meat of your favorite food chain item.
Talk about end game and product, could man have designed a more perfect multi-generational food chain reaction? On purpose? The trouble with us is that few scientists bother to compute the complete life cycle of each invention. So now we are faced with the results of a marvelous convenience, the plastic bag. I don't have a medicine pouch to wave at the problem, but i do have numbers to demonstrate what many are doing about it.
Around the world in eighty bags, the satchel chronicles.
Australia: phased out bags end of 08 -- Bangladesh: ban and levy on plastic bags-- Britain: the Prime Minister pressured law makers to eliminate bags -- China: began to phase out June 21st 08 -- Ireland: charges 29 cents per bag -- Europe has had fees since the 80s -- Uganda has imposed a ban on bags -- US. California and New-York impose recycling in major stores. San Francisco first US city to ban bags by April's Earth day, and many stores try the barrel-by-the-door to entice recycling – eco-minded town councils wave arms to improve the city's aesthetics by pleading citizens to limit usage of disposables..good luck on training the masses!.
Progress - progress, too late and not enough, where to start? The EPA claims that it is up to local waste management to deal with it. Do we have the necessary self discipline? Can we overcome the rebellion over ecologic authority? I do see signs of a growing concern. The reasoning may be faulty; but if it will steer people into an act of conscience, hey? Aim for the sensitive areas ( pocket and charge card)
The local Hy-Vee store in our small town offers re-usable green bags for $1.00 free on certain holidays..It is not a social disgrace to carry your own bag. No jaw will drop, nor bag boy faint for the honorable act of self discipline. I have a multitude of bags, donated library book bags, second hand gadget bags with fancy logos from one major advertiser, take a photo of yourself holding the free advertisement and earn a free coupon from the company's . com website. Do you have a nylon catch all and stagnant travel bags? They' re light and easy to save and carry. There is no excuse to keep using plastic grocery bags.
Well, yes there is, how about the multitasking tips for the spares you already have accumulated? A classic, inside out scooper, or rain hat, a Stuff picker-upper, or stuff thrower, stuff storer. A wild edibles collector, refrigerator cleaner. Quite handy for isolating wet bathing suits in the SUV or for those ripe tennis shoes, or yet the hot and sweaty vacation clothing . Some folks even cut bags in strips and make trailer-park-art rugs, knit or crochet at will, i am told they last, uh? Forever. And to top this off, Halloween mini costume, you use your own imagination for that one; I don't practice anything involving too many sweets and screaming children in close proximity...
Paper or plastic? Pulp or oil? one is biodegradable, one is not--one is heavy--one is light. Neither offers a solution, so get out that gaudy beach bag with the long lived shells and blooms sewn on it, and go forth to dazzle the store clerks with your new-found conscience, or just break down and spring a buck for a sturdy little green bag.
From my alter ego, the bag lady, Madame Pochette, happy bagging, you' all!