Monday, January 16, 2006

Baggage Issues

Ah, shopping, it is a necessary evil for some (I hate malls) and a joy for others. But no matter how you part with your cash, there are always ways to put the conscious back in ‘conscious consumer.’

If you can afford it, it is great to buy local organic food, local clothes made with sustainable materials, and anything that cuts down on fuel costs over long distances, etc. However, most people cannot afford these luxuries, so we have to shop at Wal-Mart and Winners and whatnot.

But no matter how expensive that particular bar of soap, or carton of milk, or hemp parka costs, it will always have something in common by the time it crosses the counter.

It will be in a fancy, easy-to-carry container.

Introducing: the bag.

The bag comes in two flavours, paper and plastic. I’ve heard that one is as bad as another. Plastic may be deadly in terms of its manufacturing and disposal, but paper is hard on the trees.

Either way, one thing is for certain, the less bags that are out there, the better off our world will be in terms of sustainability.

When I lived in Sweden a few years back, they had a policy where they would charge you for your bags. It makes you think twice about double-bagging a 4L carton of milk, or box of oranges that already has a convenient and easy to use handle. Most Swedes carried around blue reusable shopping bags with flair, it accentuated their blondeness, and went well with their eyes.

It really is a win-win situation (except for the plastic bag companies that is) – stores can make some extra coin by selling bags, people are more aware of unnecessary baggage, and the blue-bag manufacturers stand to make a fortune.

When you really think about how many bags the average person uses the numbers are staggering. Even if everyone in Canada used one less bag a day that would be over a billion bags saved. That’s a lot of landfill and forest.


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