Do Good

The last thing I would ever want to do is sound pessimistic, but I don't think that reusable bags are going to save the world. It's a good idea in theory, but as with any other consumer good, people end up buying them in excess.

User error is part of the problem. I'm the owner of two reusable bags that I got as Christmas gifts last year. Unfortunately I can also count the number of times I've remembered to bring them shopping with me on no hands. A surprisingly large number of people will simply a buy a new one when this happens, adding to their already inflated inventory. I go for the paper bag, but we'll get back to that later.

Since shoppers need to get their money's worth, the bags are made to last. I will make the completely unsubstantiated and yet seemingly reasonable claim that reusable bags consume between 20 and 50 times more resources during production than their disposable counterparts. That means every bag purchased must be used 20-50 times to break even. The environment only starts to thank us after that.

The rest of the problem stems from the fact that reusable bags have become a market unto themselves.

Have you seen the selection at Whole Foods? There must be 10-15 varieties to choose from at any given time, and no one design stays around for too long. It's like clothes: "the spring bag collection uses crisp pastels and intense, defined lines to accentuate the contours of your organic squash." And when Mike and Sarah from yoga are carrying a set, how can you not buy 'em?!

Now I understand that conservation is an important aspect of protecting our environment, and not wasting resources on disposable bags can help. Plastic/oil is a finite resource that is diminishing with each passing day, and it's not like paper bags just grow on trees.

...wait a second.


Popular posts from this blog

Wasted Cars