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Shopping Bags

By Lizette Salmon    Lizette is the convener of WATCH (Wodonga & Albury Towards Climate Health) and a member of Transition Towns Albury Wodonga.

Isn’t it funny how you often end up mimicking your parents in ways you swore you never would?

As a youngster I couldn’t understand why my parents didn’t let me eat dinner standing at the table. Standing seemed perfectly logical as it meant I could reach the salt or salad more easily, but fast forward to 2010 and there’s no way I’d let our children eat their meals standing. 

Another thing I couldn’t relate to was my mother’s tendency to bring her own shopping bags to the supermarket. Everyone else took their groceries home in crisp, new plastic bags while Mum packed ours in a hotch-potch of cloth bags. Worse still she’d bring along old bread bags to use for our fruit and vegetable purchases … most humiliating.

Needless to say I now do exactly that, and when it comes to re-usable green bags I’m certainly not alone. During my last two trips to the supermarket I’ve tallied the number of people who come to the register with their own bags. Out of 20 customers exactly half had their own bags. I also took a straw poll of a few staff, who between them estimated that 40 percent of shoppers brought their own bags. One told me that customers frequently mentioned leaving their green bags in the car. A shopper then said she overcame this problem by putting her handbag on top of her green bags in the car. This strong visual reminder worked a treat for her so perhaps it might work for others too.

While the good news is that the number of plastic carry bags leaving the supermarket is decreasing, the same cannot be said for the smaller plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable section. Those rolls of plastic still get an almighty work out every day. If people are making an effort to take their green bags to the shops, what’s stopping them from reusing a handful of ‘fregie’ bags too? Pop some in the car together with the green bags, ready for the next grocery expedition.

A psychologist friend once commented that my mother’s 1970’s bag antics were a sign she ‘dared to be different’. Thankfully taking green bags to the supermarket is no longer an act of courage. But here’s the challenge – I dare you to take along some fruit and vegie bags next time too!