Paper or Plastic or Neither

A month after San Francisco became the first US city to ban plastic shopping bags Austin’s own city council toyed with the idea of a similar ban.

Whole Foods Market and Wheatsville Coop already give you a 5 cent credit on every bag of your own you use. Reusable bags, although they are available for purchase from many supermarkets in Austin, currently garner as much loyalty as a third-party candidate in a presidential election. Compare that to England, for example. When I was there last year, I noticed most shoppers stowed groceries in canvas boxes that fitted easily into the trunks of their cars without falling over.

Now England has upped the ante in the eco-bagging trend with morsbags–sociable guerilla bagging. The idea is to get a group of friends together, take some recycled material (curtains, bedspreads), make shopping bags, and GIVE them away. Currently 79 Morsbag groups have sprouted up all over the UK and the idea is spreading around the world. There is one in the capital city of packaging waste, Tokyo. And there is even one in Las Vegas, (the last place I’d expect any eco-consciousness; trust me, my family lives there.)

While the politicians are debating whether to mandate change and while people are arguing about which truly is more environment-friendly, perhaps Austinites should extricate themselves from still another either/or choice. Maybe the answer isn’t paper or plastic.

2 Comments so far

  1. Jess (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 9:24 am

    I moved to Texas from the UK nearly five years ago, and one of the strangest things to me was that I had trouble making checkout staff understand that I had my own bags and didn’t want to take home 25 new plastic bags every shopping trip. Very, very frequently, I tell them at the beginning of checkout that I have my own bags, and while I’m paying I find they’ve stuck half my stuff in plastic bags anyway. I’d really like it for some reusable bag scheme to catch on here.

    The Morsbag thing sounds just like something I’d do. Maybe I’ll start my own pod.

  2. MMTyler (unregistered) on June 28th, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

    Now everytime I look at my duvet covers, I think of morsbags …

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