Burden of Modern Living

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Paper or plastic? How about neither? For years, I have been consciously trying to reduce my own bag consumption by bringing my own bag. An effort in itself, as those shop clerks always want to give me one – even when I ask them not to – since it’s hard wired into their musculature to do so. I never expect anyone else to do the same, but it does only make sense considering how they pile up at home (The Littlest Kitchen doesn’t have much room for extra bags), let alone the environmental consequenses of these non-biodegradable conveniences of consumption. In the name of free, we’re choking marine life, clogging up drainage systems, and filling up our landfills.

In the past week, it has been remarkable to see governments take action with this issue. On Wednesday, China banned the production super thin plastic bags, and as of June 1, supermarkets will not be allowed to give them out for free. On Friday, New York City’s City Council voted for the recycling of plastic bags, by requiring stores that give them away to have receptacles for discarded bags. These are monumental steps in the right direction to make us more aware of the impact of our consumption. I think the most successful program is Ireland’s bag tax, which charges consumers 15 cents a bag. Usage went down a phenomenal 90%! The beauty of this program is that it provides additional revenue for the government to fund environmental projects, a whopping 3.5 million euros. And San Francisco should be commended for their effort too, which requires grocery and drug stores to use only biodegradable plastic or paper bags.

If the world’s most populous country and most populous city can be more aware of these pesky little plastic bags, so can you. Habits are hard to break, but this planet is even harder to fix.

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One Response to “Burden of Modern Living”

  1. The Muji bag « The Littlest Kitchen Says:

    […] my sermonizing about the evils of plastic bags, I practice what I preach by carrying my foldable Muji bag. This nylon sac expands to the size of a […]

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