We’re drowning in an ocean of plastic bags, and no matter how they were photographed in American Beauty (I could never understand why people love that movie), they’re ugly. Every time I do my general housecleaning, I throw away another hill of plastic bags. These bags will end up in landfillsâ€”as if we have land to waste on garbageâ€”or in the sewage, where they get washed into the ocean and choke dolphins. No matter how you feel about cute aquatic creatures, plastic bags are not good. I just came from a sale at Music One, where they put my single DVD purchase (Empire of the Sun, which I’m giving my niece on her second birthday. It’s a gift that says, “In the very distant event that you’re separated from the adults, you can raise yourself.”) in a large Tower Records plastic bag folded into four. Now that’s silly. I took out the DVD, put it in my bag, and returned the plastic bag.
There’s a thought: instead of throwing away plastic bags, let’s collect them and return them to the establishments they came from. True, some of these stores will be complete dumbasses and throw them anyway, but some will have brains and re-use them. Be prepared to get strange looks when you return their plastic. That is the burden of the thinking citizens: the bafflement of the ignorant. If stores refuse to take back their plastic bags, let me know: we can try to embarrass them, and you know how highly this society prizes public opinion.
Here’s something sad: hanging onto the plastic bags of upscale stores so you can carry them around as an announcement that you shop in those places. In the first place the glamorous stores have already switched to recyclable packaging, and in the second place everyone knows what you’re thinking.
P.S. Phasing out plastic is something you have to train yourself to do. I just bought three doughnuts, and the clerk put them in a box, then put the box in a plastic bag. Why, will the box be lonely? And I took the plastic bag without thinking. So much for my plan; must habituate myself. As for the bag, Saffy is now biting it. She doesn’t eat plastic, she just likes to make holes with her fangs. I think it’s how she flosses.