July 30, 2005

More Bags II – The green bags that aren’t

Environmentalists are now starting a campaign to reverse the trend of all and sundry using disposable nappies on the soggy bottoms of bubs and toddlers. Said greenies are eager and optimistic about being very successful in this new endeavor, citing the brilliant success they have had in shaming shoppers everywhere into buying those ugly, small, and badly made shopping bags, in lieu of contaminating the world with yea good old plastic supermarket bags.

Just two small and outrageous problems with this:

One those tacky, but reusable bags are not “fabric”, as the Clean Up Australia crew like to call them. Fabric? Have they ever used one; ever touched one? They are not fabric!!! Worse still, they are made from the very same plastic used to make a wheelie bin, and other tough, made-to-last-forever plastic stuff. In other words, those millions upon millions of environmentally friendly reusable grocery bags will never, ever break down once they get to the land fill. Well, depending on how you want to define a few thousand years, which to me is pretty much never ever, in the time scale of things. Are they reusable? You bet: if by which you mean that when the stitching falls apart (well, what do you expect for one dollar?), we can never really get rid of them; they will hang around for ever and ever… amen.

Two – when greenies decided that reusable bags were the way to go, it coincided with the wide introduction of plastic bags made from corn starch. Corn starch being entirely biodegradable, within a very short period of time – like, you know, a few weeks or months, instead of a few thousand years.

“Reusable” bags are now, allegedly, used by 64% of shoppers, with, allegedly, up to 80% of shoppers refusing “plastic” bags. This is fine, so long as the reusable bags are fabric, not the last-forever plastic things promoted by environmental groups, as well as our governments.

Wouldn’t it be more honest to educate shoppers about the difference between a plastic bag and one made from corn starch; and about how the latter compares to their investment in a few dozen, or so, reusable non-fabric $1 bags, which will eventually sit in the landfill forever?

So, bravo, to the greenies, and let’s see what dazzlingly and blindingly stupid solution they’ll force upon everyone in lieu of disposable nappies. Let’s just hope they don’t have the same success that they have had with the reusable and non-biodegradable shopping bags, which aren’t even the right size for anyone’s groceries.

Initial vague comments seem to suggest that they wish to encourage the makers of disposable nappies to use corn starch plastic……gosh, what a good idea, who would have thought of such a thing? At least they’re not suggesting that disposable nappies should be coated in the same “fabric” going into the reusable grocery bags they so vigorously promote.

Next time you see someone smugly and conspicuously waving around their brown or green reusable non-biodegradable grocery bags, while you are carrying your corn starch totally biodegradable bags, make sure you sneer at them - at the very least - but preferably take the time to let them know just how long their $1 bags will be sitting in the landfill.

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