Sunday, October 12, 2008

My stand

I went shopping yesterday, and I made a stand not to take extra shopping bags than what is needed to carry what I bought.

First stop - Sembawang CD Shop at Raffles City. I bought Derrick Hoh's album finally! But ouch. My own bag was too small to contain it. So I guiltily said yes when the shop lady asked 'Do you need a carrier?'

Second stop: Im@ge Fun shop at Plaza Singapura. I took another carrier for my purchase of shoes. The carrier was huge and so I could happily stuff the rest of the purchases in.

Stop: OG Departmental store. I bought several clothes and paid at several times. I had to withstand the cashiers' weird stare when I said 'I don't need a carrier', and 'NO I don't need an inner carrier (whatever it is) too'. Guess they are not used to environmentally friendly customers yet.

Stop: CMYK at Wisma Atria. Bought clothes again, and again I said 'I don't need a carrier.' and refused it when she offered to wrap it for me. Again received a look that showed she didn't understand why. I told her though, that I have my own carrier.

Stop: Sasa at Wisma Atria. Bought items there with a very nice shop lady! Again said no carrier needed. The cashier understood. The very nice shop lady asked if I just put everything in the same bag. Then I told her yeah it's my stand to not take plastic bags if unnecessary. She seemed to be able to understand. =)

That's my very eventful day in stating my stand. It was a very strong mindset-breaking thinking for me. While we are more used to not taking plastic bags when we are making small purchases at sundry shops, we still love to have the carriers (see! Even the term used is different) at our shopping trips. This is probably because:

  • The precious items bought are clean and they need a decent place to stay in throughout our shopping trips. 
  • The need for such nice bags to contain things in the future.
  • It gives us the status and sense of achievement when we walk around with many carriers.
  • It will make us look like oddballs if we don't follow the norm of keeping new purchases in new bags.
But think about it, by having so many bags, the downsides are:
  • Very importantly, wasting resources of the Earth when we CAN do with less.
  • Making our shopping trips inconvenient at occasions when we need to put down our conquests. (e.g. MRT rides, going washroom, trying clothes, taking something from your bag) Imagine your bags sprawling on the floor instead of just one bag!
  • The aunty image you portray by walking with so many bags on hands.
  • The lack of free hand to take your wallet or drinks.
  • The trouble of kepping all the carriers when we are back at home.
Think about this:
  • Your purchases are all new and so new things can be put together. It saves the trouble of retrieving conquests from different bags when you are back.
  • Most of the time, we find ourselves having too many such 'nice bags' than the amount that we really need.
  • It is really ok to state your stand to protect the Earth. It is an opportunity to educate the cashiers too.
  • How about stepping it a step higher? Bring a larger bag when you go shopping or bring your own reusable bags?
From now on, I want to commit to taking less than 5 plastic bags every week. I am putting a stats on my blog's right panel to keep myself accountable.

If you feel for this cause too, leave a comment for this post, and state the maximum number of bags you will take the next week. Let's try, and let's start putting in an effort on our own!

Let's try with this 'less plastic bags' campaign. I hope that as people living in developed countries, we can take a loving stand for our Earth, and change some of our urban habits, to show that we care for more than just ourselves, that we care for the Earth and the future generations who are going to inherit whatever that is created, or left, for them.

The other things that my friends and I have tried and you may be interested to do:

  • When I take away food to nearby places (e.g. from the Quad to SAC, from Kopitiam to AIESEC Office), I take away the food in their bowls and trays, and return them later.
  • Washing your liquid containers before recycling them because containers with liquid waste is not recyclable.
  • Stop using straws for drinking liquids because they are a waste of resources just a one-time pleasure.
  • Instead of using tissues to contain birthday cake, tear the cake box into pieces for the same purpose.
  • Say no to the extra sauces at food outlets if you don't need them - do not waste them since you don't need them.
Please leave your comments to share your ways of saving the resources too! I would really wish to learn more. I really appreciate every suggestion and support for this cause.

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