Five years ago, it was seemingly only people like me and these people who believed in organic and sustainable farming, who shopped at the Co-Op, ate organic and brought our own bags to the grocery store.
Three years ago or so, when I would bring my own fabric bags into grocery stores in lieu of using their plastic ones, I was often eyed for shoplifting. Once or twice I even needed to show the grocers what I was leaving with to ensure that that I was only saving a plastic bag, not being unruly.
Since then, it is now a ubiquitous habit to bring one’s own bag, and a praised one at that. Every well-to-do magazine encourages re-using your own bag and the major chains throughout the U.S. now have their version of a non-plastic, re-usable bag on hand for purchase. Plastic bags still travel with the breezes like pollen in Spring, yet they’re becoming less popular and more symbolic of a social/ecological ignoramus than ever.
Bags for the People, a NYC-based non-profit operation run by my new studiomates, Lauren & Glenn, is bringing a more in-your-face approach to the choice between paper,plastic, OR fabric than a personal choice allows. They’re hand-making re-usable fabric bags and giving them away for free.
The information they provide on their website about plastic bags is even more of a catalyst for change:
“Plastic bags are made from polyethylene. Polyethylene is a man made polymer chain of ethylene, which is derived from natural gas and petroleum. Both natural gas and petroleum(crude oil) are fossil fuels that are not renewable in any reasonable amount of time(most scientists believe that from living organism to oil or natural gas may take hundreds of thousands or even millions of years”
Forgetting to bring your own bag may become less frequent with that information in tote. I’m so excited to be working next to them and also excited to see what kind of positive changes they create here in little ole New York City and beyond.