Key Takeaway: I invite you to bring canvas bags, or eco-bags, with you whenever you go shopping. They’re more durable and useful than paper bags, which have replaced the plastic bags that are now banned in parts of Metro Manila.
Do you like shopping?
I do, and whenever I go out there’s a fair chance that I’ll be home at the end of the day with a shift in my assets: a reduction in cash but an increase in material goods.
Now, we know that in most retail stores, it is protocol for staff to load your purchases into a paper or plastic bag as you pay. With the personal environmental movement going on, however – government-dictated or not – alternatives have to be made.
Since 2011, Metro Manila has been, in stages, implementing plastic bag bans, meaning that establishments caught using plastic bags can and will be fined in increasing amounts, with the most extreme punishments being business license cancellation and/or jail time. It shows how serious the government is in stepping up to environmental causes.
However, the usual replacement, paper bags, might be an example of the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Paper bags are actually costlier, and have a more limited recycling life span than plastic bags. Furthermore, they rip much more easily than plastic, and as such then end up as waste also right then and there.
So why not go plastic? Disposed of improperly, plastic can be deadly harmful to another part of the environment – animals. Unfortunately, society still has a long way to go to implement proper waste management.
Furthermore, we’d like to have clutter-free homes without stacks and stacks of paper and/or plastic bags. Sure, we need plastic bags for our trash cans, but we don’t need that much do we. So, the more ideal solution would be to have on hand a multi-purpose container that can be used not just in shopping, but in other ways as well, thereby saving both you and the business money.
Hence, I go for a Bring Your Own Canvas Bag movement.
When going shopping and I know I’ll be buying a fair amount of stuff – such as the grocery or when I get customer orders at Human Nature (I do store visits rather than delivery coordination), I bring a canvas bag with me. When I’m out and I buy something that is either small enough to fit in my own bag, or just one thing that I can carry around anyway (like a book), I naturally do not get paper or plastic bags anymore. If I am buying something for someone and it is convenient to have a paper or plastic bag included (such as a customer’s order consisting of multiple items), then I acquiesce and use the provided recycled paper bag. Otherwise, I bring my canvas bags with me.
The paper used for paper bags can be used for a better purpose, like books – where they will have less of a chance to unintentionally get ripped apart and thus become waste immediately. The same can happen to a low-quality canvas bag, though, so of course, you should get a quality one that can be used indefinitely not just for shopping, but for other purposes as well. The same eco-bag you bring with you when doing grocery-shopping can hold your things at the beach or when you’re bringing some other things to work.
So as this weekend provides opportunities for you to go shopping, I invite you to pause for a moment before leaving your house, and to see if you have your canvas bags with you or not.