I saw a lady at the supermarket today.
I don’t know her. I have never seen her before.
I don’t know if she’s married or has a partner. I don’t know if she has children. I don’t know if she cares about the environment. I don’t know if she smokes or does drugs. I don’t know if she catches a packed bus every morning to work and acts older than she is just to get a seat. I don’t know if she counts down the days until her next island holiday, just for something to look forward to. I don’t know if she adds an extra twenty minutes onto her walk home every day by taking the long way, just so she gets to see the harbour.
All I know is that this lady went to the supermarket today. She used the self-checkout to buy a two litre container of milk. You know the one I mean. The one that has a handle built in to the packaging. This lady had nothing else in her hands, so wasn’t struggling to carry the milk; she swiftly placed it in a plastic bag, paid and left.
This action left me thinking… How long did that woman have that bag for? I assume she placed the milk in the fridge within the next 15 minutes, as I wouldn’t want to know what happens to milk sitting in the Australian sun for any longer. So where did the bag go? Maybe she uses plastic bags for her garbage bin. Maybe she makes plastic bag art and enters it into the Biennale each year. Or maybe it went from the supermarket to the bin in less than half an hour, before it starts its 300 year degradation process.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the need to bag numerous items to successfully get them home. I don’t expect shoppers to walk around balancing 18 items like they’re spinning plates. I would just like shoppers to think.
Was it worth it? To get your milk to your car? To ease your hand for 10 minutes? Is it worth it if these bags end up killing an animal, or your child doesn’t get to see a species because they all died out? Was your 10 minutes worth the 300 years it’ll take to completely break down?
You are making a choice.
– Do You Really Need That Drastic Bag