I’m now fully equipped with cloth supermarket bags, and indeed have been upgrading to the new improved green ones, which keep their shape when the checkout chick/bloke plonks them down to start packing, making everything faster than fiddling with the soft cloth ones. But my use of cloth supermarket bags has been so wildly successful that I have a little problem.

I’ve run out of plastic supermarket bags.

They have a myriad of uses… bin liners, putting lunch in, wrapping up things to put in the fridge, removal of poo from hitherto unidentified garden intruders…

Maybe I’ll have to start leaving my cloth bags at home sometimes.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “Bags”

Try as we might, we just can’t live without a few of the nasty plastic shopping bags! The nicest thing about this new sweeping lifestyle change is that I no longer sense the annoyed looks from waiting shoppers as I pack my groceries and hold up the queue, because it is now ‘the done thing’. Surely now, with more and more people finally catching on to what many of us have been doing for years, the plastic shopping bag producers must be slowing down production?

Depending on your relationship with your neighbours, you could ask for their plastic shopping bags. You get the useful bags, you feel happy because you aren’t encouraging plastic bag production, and maybe your neighbours will get the hint about using re-usable bags.

Of course this is not really a long-term solution, sooner or later you will run out of neighbours who are using plastic bags… :)

It’s what I do though, and at least one neighbour refuses to accept this “new hippie age” so I’m not likely to run out of bags soon.

I have a stack of those green bags too, but every now and then I forget to take them in the store with me and I re-fill our stack of plastic. Believe it or not, we actually buy bags for the kitchen bin!

Its perverse isnt it…..spending money on a re-usable bag so that you dont use wasteful plastic bags….then realising your running out of plasic bags that you need… off you go and spend more money on plastic bags for use at home…..

A couple of observations
a) at my place not one plastic bag gets thrown out without being re-used as bin linner or nappy containment device….
the number of Plastic bags in storage in my pantry is neither reducing to zero (what would I use for bin liners!!) nor is it getting out of control (I can still find food in my pantry)

Given a) and b) can I assume that some form of equilibrium has been acheinved and that to foolishly mess with such a system by drasicly decreasing the number of bags comming into the system would cause untold flow on effects…..

I’ve said it before, the conspiracy theorist in me thinks two thoughts:

1. The promotion of cloth bags and occasionally threatened banning of plastic supermarket bags is organised by the makers of bin liner bags – so that instead of selling millions of plastic bags to supermarkets for next to nothing, they sell a similar number to bin owners for about 10 times as much.

2. The more frequent appearance of holes in bags and the thinner plastic they are now made of, is the work of the same people mentioned in point 1.

But we still have some cloth bags and attempt to stay at the aforementioned equilibrium point. A lot of plastic bags get thrown out because of their holes though.

The cloth bags are the new Gucci on the trains, I’ve noticed. Just about everyone is using them for things other than groceries. I forget to bring my green bags with me every third trip just so I can stock up on the plastic bags.

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