PLASTIC SURGERY: Time to put plastic shopping bags out to pasture, or stop doing that as the case may be.
PLASTIC SURGERY: Time to put plastic shopping bags out to pasture, or stop doing that as the case may be. natalie_board

Why are we still a bunch of plastic tragics?

THIS has been brewing for a while, years you can count on one hand, but when the ABC's Chaser guys got serious about exposing the plastic shopping bag atrocity, among other examples of extreme waste, I thought this will do it.

But no, not here in the fantastic plastic paradise of Grafton, at least.

Months after being informed in easy to digest morsels of the terrible consequence of using plastic shopping bags - landfill that never breaks down, killing seals, turtles, questionable recycling practices - it appears the masses are still happy to perpetuate the mindless act of walking into the supermarket empty handed, filling their trolleys (along with lots of other less avoidable plastic) and then packing it all into a fresh and crispy petrochemical carry-alls that serve no other purpose than to lift the stuff from your trolley into your boot and then up the stairs when you get home.

Then what. Oh yes, they are great for putting other garbage in and then chucking into your red bin.

Sure but what happens then? Guess it's out of your hands so it doesn't matter.

You know what also carries groceries rather effectively? Cloth bags. Yeah I know, unbelievable. And if you buy lots of food, you have a few cloth bags on the go. They fold flat so shouldn't take up too much of that precious boot space.

It's starting to get to the point where I have to be a patronising smartarse.

I realised this when I found myself death-staring a dude gaily swinging the plastic bag he needed to hold that one block of chocolate he purchased.

Or at the person who puts items that are way too big and heavy for a plastic bag - like a slab of Coke. - inside one but never uses the handles. Wet weather protection maybe.

The supermarkets promise the world when it comes to phasing them out but in the meantime they continue their belligerent formula of openly inviting you into plasticville by either automatically shoving your goods into the bags without asking if you have cloth, or peeling them open nice and wide in anticipation of you loading them up at the self-serve. How very thoughtful.

When I see the latter gaping problem some glee is derived from smashing them back into their place, suffocating the offenders with my canvas bag, wiping out the insidious little single-use production line for a few minutes at least.

But you know who I feel for worst of all? Dirtgirl.

You know that little girl and her cheery friends that appear on the side of our garbage trucks encouraging us to recycle.

She's an international award-winning star and yet here we are in her hometown basically saying F-you and flipping her the bird (and I don't mean the lovely chirpy ones she has in her garden).

What must Clarence kids think? One minute they are learning about the environment and the simple ways we can make a difference, next minute they are watching their parents load the weekly plastic bag haul into the family car. Disconnect much?

You can see there's an enormous environmental issue with them, surely, and yet the patterns continue day in and day out, not everyone, but a hell of a lot in Grafton given the stream of random encounters witnessed over the course of a week.

Our living dead response to what is a huge problem has got to be decapitated and it shouldn't hinge on the supermarkets to wield the environmental axe.

You are big boys and girls, right, Dirtgirl?

So come on grocery shopping zombies (I'm one of those too, particularly when trying to find something to eat after a long day). Once you convert to cloth you honestly won't look back or forget to bring them with you.

Keep a constant supply on rotation and it becomes second nature, pun intended.

Small groups are trying to do their bit like the Grafton Boomerang bag makers who are volunteering their time and sewing skills to encourage people to convert to cloth by making it extremely easy for you.

This is great but it's gone beyond the point for gentle suggestions any more.

The ecological trauma caused by this petrochemical nightmare is not something you can get around to doing something about in your own good time. Think of the turtles and Dirtgirl and get your act together today. Source your own supply and stick them in your boot. It's not hard.

Even a zombie can do it.

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