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Just say ‘No’ to plastic bags

(politely though, a little courtesy never hurt anyone ;-))

Doing a bit of blogsurfing (‘blurfing’??) on Sunday I came across a post on Yinhao’s blog, who was apparently inspired by Nikkiko who asked people to “take a picture of yourself with, something to represent, not using plastic bags?” and then we get a link on her sidebar.

Well, thanks to my wife, I have been severely trained into not using plastic bags; actually I always tried to using them too much, but she would glare at me so much when I came back with even one bag, that I made even more effort :-)

We used to come back from the market with a bag for almost every stall we went to, and sometimes more. But we started to avoid them, and after about six months we had reduced the huge pile of plastic bags we had stored up and now have quite a good system in place. Cloth shopping bags (keep one in the car) and Tupperware for wet stuff.

Plastic bags are really useful, mainly because they are light, waterproof and durable. The problem is, these qualities also make them extremely polluting and damaging to the environment.

A plastic bag will take about 500 years to decompose – so, to get some perspective, if a Portuguese had left a plastic bag in Malacca when they first arrived in 1511 – it would have just decomposed by about now. In Singapore about 2.5 billion plastic shopping bags are used every year, so in Malaysia it must be more – imagine how many will be clogging up the land in 500 years if we carry on at this rate! And even if they are incinerated, what a waste of energy – using energy to burn something that took energy to make…

There are some arguments that paper bags consume more energy to make, transport, etc. (UK government report) but there’s a simple solution to that – reusable bags.
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