My current place of residence is currently considering a plastic bag-ban at all grocery stores. Similar laws are already in place in many small Colorado towns and have been common place in several European countries for years. As with anything that requires change, there has been quite a bit of controversy, but the most startling thing I have heard thus far was a radio advertisement: “The bag-ban is coming! Get your customized embroidered bags with your logo! Order early!”
Stop right there. Isn’t the point of a bag-ban to reduce? At least, that had been my impression. My town’s impending bag-ban follows the nationwide “green” trend – don’t stop buying, just buy green. On the upside, we have seen a greater number of products unleashed unto the marketplace that are less harmful to the environment. On the downside, we are merely substituting one “I want” for another “want,” continuing our insatiable desire for consumption.
Believe me, I fall into this trap without so much as a half-hearted struggle every time I get an REI Gift Guide in the post. It’s an inescapable culture that even the lack of a TV in my flat has been unable to block. (Although, life without the tele has greatly improved the situation.)
The point I and my soapbox are making is that it is not enough to simply change our buying habits (although it’s a very good start!), but we must also confront our materialism. Is it a need or is it a want? Because based upon the last few commercials I watched on the pub tele, you definitely don’t need it. As we approach the peak of mass consumerism (the Holidays), think about what you’re purchasing and why. Just think, the less you buy – the less bags you need!
*Editor’s Note: Margaret is very much in favour of reusable bags and bag-bans. Just sayin’.