Monday, April 30, 2007

What's Chinese for "I am not an ethical bag?"

Just when you thought the story couldn't get more disheartening or disgusting ...
I speak, of course, of the "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" cloth bag, designed by fashionista Anya Hindmarch and distributed by Sainsbury's supermarkets. This very bag, for which people were lining up hundreds-strong outside several Sainsbury's outlets in the early hours of the morning, was touted as the ecological answer to carrying one's shopping home. Of course. Re-usable cloth bags were unheard of before this! Hindmarch really struck a goldmine here, folks. I mean, honestly: Before now, who had ever heard of fabric bags?!
Now for the million-dollar question: How many of these fashion-conscious nitwits, do you suppose, carried their "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" bag home in a plastic bag? Furthermore, how many of you actually believe these bags are going to be used for actual grocery shopping? I've always liked Tower Bridge—would you like to sell me that?
Short of the supermarkets themselves removing plastic bags and using only biodegradable—or recyclable—paper ones, or government internvention in the form of a ban (as Ireland has done), then the plastic bag, sadly, is here to stay. I don't for one moment believe that all those who forked over £5 for Hindmarch's creation are as concerned about plastic bags as they pretend to be. It was the must-have item du jour, simply because Kate Moss had modelled it. But come to think of it, Kate Moss could be selling samples of her stool and you'd have people lining up around several blocks at 4 a.m. to purchase that as well. Because, like, ohmigod, I just couldn't be seen without it! *cues ditzy laugh*
But, as it happens, that is not the most disturbing aspect of this story. Turns out that this hippy-dippy sack was made in China by cheap labor. Hindmarch herself said, "We never claimed this bag is perfect. We have just tried to use our influence as a maker of luxury goods to make it fashionable not to use plastic bags."
Now I can guarantee you that this bag won't see the light of day again amongst all those who were salivating at the thought of purchasing one just last week. Good going, you bunch of moronic, consumerist sheep! Are you proud of yourselves now?
You know, maybe I'm just strange or whatever, but something tells me that paying third-world workers a dollar a day to make cloth shopping bags for feather-brained Westerners is not going to save the planet.


East of Eden said...

I have to say that I think all of the "banning plastic bags" is nonsense!

I have never just thrown these bags away. I use them all over my house for trash, carrying things etc. If I have to buy smaller sized glad bags because I can't just re-sue my old shopping bags, I think that is worse for the environment than the plasic itself.

And isn't chopping down trees to make paper bags even worse?

As for the fabric bags, you're right, easily duped consumers paying way too much for something they could make at home from a bolt of canvas.

Nightdragon said...

Well, I'm no fan of the plastic bag, they've been the biggest and most annoying form of litter for more than 20 years now and get wrapped up in trees, and billions of them get thrown out every year and take 1,000 years to break down. They're just a blight and I wouldn't at all mind seeing them done away with. But, alas, convenience is all people care about.

I always buy just whatever groceries I need for the day and always put them in my gym bag to take home. I never accept plastic bags anymore. While I realize this isn't feasible for everyone, it makes a huge difference. There are other things that people, both industry and consumers alike, can do to reduce environmental impact, but either they just don't care or know they should but are far too lazy and addicted to convenience to do so.

Then again, given human nature, I'm hardly surprised by any of it.

Mouse1972 said...

The only way to solve the problem is to make biodegradable plastic bags. People may buy special bags for grocery shopping, but in reality, how many times will they remember to bring them with?