The other day, Yumi and I went to the grocery store to buy some stuff, like cooking oil and butter, tocino and dishwashing liquid.  When we got home, we had a total of 4 plastic bags for such a small number of items.  They put the butter in a plasic bag, the tocino in another bag, then they put these bags with the cooking oil in a big plastic bag.  The dishwashing liquid was placed in a separate small bag by itself since it can’t be mixed with food.

I think plastic bags per se are not evil but using too much and using it indiscriminately is definitely harmful for the environment and eventually harmful for us.  The government is trying to reduce the usage of plastic by implementing a “no plastic bag day” once a week, every Wednesday and I know there are several establishments who are strict in implementing this in their stores.  It’s a good start but I don’t think it is enough though.

Even if we all used reusable bags to place all our purchases in, what we purchased would have some sort of plastic or packaging as well.  I buy refills for most of our household products like cooking oil, dishwashing liquid, shampoo, fabric conditioner etc.  All these are placed in plastic.  I don’t know if this is better or if it is better to buy the original packaging which has hard plastic which could probably be recycled.  But I think recycling should be the last resort and if the object can still be used, then it should.  Shampoo containers can be used countess times and I think it never has to be replaced ever.  But of course buying refills would also use up plastic.  Is it possible to have a distributor who can sell us just the contents?  Can we bring our empty bottles and have it refilled?  I think this is economical for the producer as they don’t have to spend for the containers anymore.  Of course, this would require that customers buy into the idea.  But I think if advertisers give it the right spin, consumers will take the trouble to bring their containers.  Of course it would be better if they get a benefit, like maybe a discount, the same way you get P5 off your drink at Starbucks if bring your own container (I think it has to be a Starbucks container, though).

There is one city who is imposing a total ban on the use of plastic bags.  I think this is very admirable but I just don’t know how effective or realistic this is.  Let’s say you go to market to buy your food supplies for the week.  You buy some fruits, and put this in your bag.  Then you buy some vegetables and these are put in your bag as well.  These items are dry and I think it’s ok to place them in your bag without any plastic.  Then you buy some eggs.  Where will you place the eggs?  Then you buy chicken, where will you put the raw chicken?  Obviously there are items that do need to be placed in plactic bags, or some other container as they can’t be mixed with the other items you’re buying.  Would the market vendors be put out of business because they have to provide plastic bags to place the chicken in?  Are the consumers supposed to bring tupperware-like containers to place the chicken in?  How can we make this ban realistic and get all those involved to participate?

There are so many things left to say about this topic but I’ll talk about it some other day.  I know that I need to make some changes, both as a consumer and as a seller.  I’ll try my best to bring containers when I go shopping next time, and I think I’ll also give discounts to my customers if they bring their own containers when they buy my cookies.  I guess that’s as good a start as any.