It occurred to me when I was in Sainsbury’s the other day being glared at by a woman with several reusable carrier bags, that the world is not going to end because I fail at reusing carrier bags.
This thought came to me while standing at the check out with my bottle of wine and packet of cotton make up removal pads and whatever other junk I had picked up between picking up those two items because supermarkets supremely fail at putting cotton make up removal pads and wine in the same aisle.
I went through a stage of trying to do my bit for the planet and bought a “bag for life” and began using it, and tried to make sure that I carried it about with me wherever I went just in case I felt like popping into a shop for any reason. Then I stopped carrying it so then went through a stage of feeling guilty at the supermarket so I would buy another bag for life, and then another, and then another…until I could actually have sold them back to various supermarkets around Edinburgh.
After that I stopped reusing carrier bags and did feel guilty about it. My family has always recycled what we could. My mum recycles everything that can be recycled. Glass, cardboard, plastic, paper, clothes. Mother uses her bag for life as it should be used, regularly.
However, I have, for a while now, just been taking the free carrier bags. I have suffered for this on a few occasions as these bags have no stamina. The newspaper sliced through one on one occasion and I spent a few moments collecting other messages from the floor of a bus. I have been tapped on the shoulder and handed tins of soup that have escaped through suddenly appearing holes in these bags. Anything heavier than a box of 50 teabags seems to be too much of an effort for them. Answer? Double them up!
So last week I’m standing at the checkout with aforementioned items of wine and cotton make up removal pads, plus various junk, and I haven’t got a reusable bag. The woman in front of me didn’t seem to like this particularly as she kept glaring at me and then looking at her sturdy reusable carrier bags. Sitting on top of her handbag in her trolley was…her car keys. I looked at them and thought that yes, she’s reusing her carrier bags but she’s also driving a car. Well done Mrs Reusable Carrier Bag Woman, planet saved because you’re reusing your carrier bags, something to think about as you drive home in your car with your earth destroying emissions.
More than that though, and probably what stopped me from putting my hand on my hip and query her glaring at me, was the thought that stepped into my mind that the world is not going to end because I fail at reusing carrier bags and it’s not going to end because Mrs Reusable Carrier Bag Woman drives to and fro the supermarket. It’s going to end because some mad communist dictator decides to press the nuclear button. If not that then it’s going to end because bacteria will defeat humans. China is currently in the grip of an outbreak of A(H7N9) influenza virus which would then remind us to the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 influenza virus which became a world wide pandemic. Bacteria are working hard all the time to defeat our vaccines and our treatments. If we don’t keep ahead of them, they’ll get ahead of us.
That’s assuming that Kim Jong Un doesn’t waken up in a bad mood one day soon and decide to kick off the beginning of the end.
In conclusion, I have no issue with people recycling, it undoubtedly will help the planet in some way or another but the current reality means that I’m going to worry more about the posturing of North Korea than I am about whether I reuse a carrier bag or not.