Ban the Bag

There is a fundamental flaw in the economy; the shopping bag. It is ridiculous to use a material that endures forever for single-use disposable ítems.
Shopping bags are so commercially successful – and ubiquitous – due to their low weight and resistance to degradation. They are also a strong, cheap and hygienic way of transporting groceries.
But plastic bags have their shortcomings as well.
If not disposed of properly, they clog sewers, entangle and kill wildlife, enter the food chain when ingested by unsuspecting animals, and litter our oceans and landscapes. The worst of all, they take centuries to decompose.
The fact that single-use plastic shopping-bags are such a mess, is so obvious, that many countries are already taking steps to discourage their use. Some, the smartest and most farsighted ones, are even banning them altogether.
We could classify manufactured items in three categories according to how long they last:
  • Single-use items
  • Built-to-last-forever items
  • All other items
Single-use items, like shopping bags or soda bottles, should be made of [real] biodegradable materials only. Within six months, they should have decomposed into harmless AND natural stuff.
Built-to-last-forever items, like buildings or decorative vases, may be made of non-biodegradable materials. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt to encourage the use of recyclable and reusable materials as much as possible.

All other items, like TV’s, tools, clothing, furniture, almost everything, should be made of recyclable and reusable materials only. For example, the goal should be to manufacture 100% recyclable vehicles. It’s not that hard and it’s not that much more expensive either.

The fact that single-use items like plastic shopping bags are still on the market, is so dumb, so wrong and so useless, that it should make us wonder up to what point the human race would be considered intelligent by observing aliens. It’s in these situations when legislators make me wonder if they are fit for the job.

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