Growing up as a kid in the far south suburbs of Chicago, we used to get our groceries bagged up in brown paper bags. It was all an interesting ballet performed by professional "baggers", who gracefully and magically always seemed to pick the right item from the belt to fit into this humble shipping container. With the square base of these paper shopping bags, it even often became possible to stack layers of cans or boxes inside them almost to the brim, and if the items were potentially too heavy for the strength of the paper, "double bagging" (nesting one paper bag inside of the other) quickly solved the problem. Once emptied, these containers remained useful as everything from temporary storage containers to tinder for the charcoal grill or fireplace.
Enter the plastic bag. Made of a recyclable plastic, this new container was to provide the ecologically friendly answer to grocery transport. Of course they didn't hold as much as the old paper standby, had greater weight restrictions, and were nearly impossible to sensibly place items in; but according to the experts they were more environmentally friendly, so we simply adjusted. Those of us with some level of social consciousness even faithfully stored the empty bags and took them back to the grocery store so that they could in fact be recycled. This was easy, since unlike their paper predecessors they were useless beyond their originally intended purpose, so parting with them was not a problem.
Never content with the sacrifice made by their fellow man in service of Mother Nature, the environmental movement reared its ugly head again however. This time they demanded that we do away with the plastic bags. It seems that not every human being was as environmentally conscious as is necessary, and many of the recyclable bags were in fact not being recycled. In addition, plastic bags were made from plastic! Plastic of course is a petroleum product (oil), and everything made of oil is evil in the environmental movement. Plastic bags must go!
The demand then came for us to switch from the free plastic bags that the store provided to cotton, canvas, or hemp bags that we would have to purchase and carry to the store with us when we shopped. We were told that the materials that these new Eco-friendly bags were made were bio-degradable and the bags themselves could be used over and over again, and for multiple purposes (you know, like paper).
News soon reached us however that these bags, though eco-friendly could be a health hazard. Carrying groceries like fresh fruits, vegetables, or even meats whose juices were leaking, would permit these new containers to become contaminated. Once contaminated, they could then transfer unhealthy bacteria either to any new foods placed into them, or directly to people using them through physical contact. Canvas bags must therefore go!
Jump to the Present...
The environmental movement is now saying that plastic bag manufacture should be banned because of the contamination of landfills, of life in the wild in general, and of the oceans as well as they break down and are consumed by sea life. So we can't use the plastic Eco-friendly bags, since in spite of their original designation, they are destroying the environment. We likewise can't use the canvas Eco-friendly bags unless we sterilize them like medical instruments or throw them away after every use (rather impractical after spending so much money for them). We further still can't use paper bags as they are the original bad guys in this whole process, with the guilt of millions of dead trees attached to them. Well, I guess we will just have to carry our groceries home by the armload or buy them by the handful.
Au contraire mon ami (that's French). It's time to ignore the eco-friendly, politically correct bullshit and do what we know is right. I don't know about you, but as for me, I'm going back to the paper bags. Not only were they always the best way to carry groceries, but I have a certain secondary use in mind as well.
I plan to cut a couple of eye holes in one and wear it over my head in embarrassment for believing the eco-crap that the environmental movement has been handing out for all of those years. Never again!