Life means life

by guest blogger, Oliver Neilson (thank you for doing my homework). 

A ‘bag for life’ is a pretty bold statement on the longevity of their bags by the supermarkets, or a pretty gloomy outlook on the longevity of their customers by the same.

A quick audit of the Mcleod household haul tallys at: 4 Eroski, 3 Carrefour, 2 Cidon, 2 Ikea, 6 assorted, 4 Mueller and 10 Lidl. Twenty nine in total. This isn’t because we are enormous fans of bags for life, we just keep forgetting to take them with us to the supermarket and then can’t bear to buy a normal plastic bag and end up with yet another ugly reusable one which will outlive us!
Psalm 90 in the good book states. ‘The days of our years are threescore years and ten’, …do a little simple maths, and by my reckoning we have enough bags to last for the next two thousand and thirty years…or put another way, the bag  I picked up yesterday will be, possibly my only bequest, to my great, great, great (great times 27) grandchild. Clearly I’m not doing this right.

The modern disposable plastic carrier is a nasty piece of work. Spewed out of a production line in nano seconds, it will take a millennium to breakdown. In the process it will contribute noxious chemicals into the soil and the atmosphere, utilise significant chunks or the World’s dwindling resource of petrochemicals and kill approximately 100,000 turtles, per year. There are not a great many of these most cutesy of marine reptiles around. We have a few left in Mallorca, but a bag that may have held your packed lunch for a few seconds, even carefully discarded may make its way into the sea, where, to the poor uneducated turtle it looks a lot like a jellyfish, which to a turtle looks a lot like lunch. I guess I don’t need to tell you where this ends.

But it need not be so complex. To my Granny it was a no brainer to take your own bag to the shop, or to reuse a milk bottle. Lemonade bottles could be returned to the shops for a 5p discount on the next purchase. What did we forget?, Why do we find it so hard to replicate what was so routine only a few decades ago?.

We kid ourselves that the pace of modern life doesn´t allow us time to consider such frivolities as recycling, we are far too busy to remember our bags for life. Too busy to recycle our Marmite jars, but just pause for a second. My Granny lived in a time of austerity in the rationing during, and just after WWII, and she managed just fine. As we seem to be heading into austere times once more, a time where shaving a few pennies or cents here and there has increasing importance we can make a difference to our purses, the environment, and perhaps a turtle or two by one simple action.

Take your bag out of the car and into the supermarket…that’s it.

It´s so simple, my Granny could do it. I’m working on it.

One comment

  1. So true. Those ‘bags for life ‘are more resource-intensive than the ‘disposable’ bags they’re supposedly designed to supercede if you end up buying a ‘bag for life’ every time you go shopping.

    If you’ve got a bag (handbag, rucksack, laptop case) that you often have with you, pop a bag in it so you’ll have one when you unexpectedly find yourself picking up some groceries. If you drive, keep a couple in the car (you’re more likely to remember to take them into the shop if they’re in the door pocket, rather than the boot).

    Most of all though, it takes mindfulness. If there’s ANY chance you’ll do some shopping while you’re out, take a bag.

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