Islanders, have you ever noticed that whenever you buy an item from a periptero (kiosk), a supermarket or a bakery, the cashier always bags your item? You know what I’m talking about about. You’ve all been there. Sometimes I want to say, “dude, seriously, it’s a pack of gum, but instead I politely say, “I don’t need a bag, thanks”. So why does this issue bother me so? To the point that I feel compelled to write about it? Simply put, because it is an important one. By dramatically reducing the use of single-use carrier bags, we can help do our part to reduce litter, protect wildlife, save on natural resources that are used for production and distribution and if that’s not good enough reason, there are many, many more. But that would be a whole essay in itself and I’m hardly an environmentalist to even begin writing essays on the matter! It doesn’t take an environmentalist to know, however, that these flimsy, mostly non-reusable plastic bags are a bad thing. Even so, we continue to use them.
A carton of milk, a can of coke, a pack of cigarettes… No matter how small the item is, the cashier lady has to bag it! It’s like some sort of urge that they can’t give in to. This occurs at the bakery a great deal to the extent that’s all together quite alarming. I’ve even been given dirty looks when proclaiming my right not to accept the use of an unnecessary, not to mention environmentally unfriendly plastic bag. A look that says ‘Just let me bag it lady!’ The women behind the counter stand there getting their plastic bags ready. Carefully fluffing them out one after the other, patiently anticipating the next item they get to satisfyingly place into them, almost as though it’s the highlight of their job. Not to disrespect their bag fluffing techniques or anything but isn’t it now common knowledge that plastic bags are a serious concern for the environment and thus the world we live in? The funny thing is (or rather, totally illogical thing is) that these bakeries (and I say bakeries because this seems to occur most when I’m buying a loaf of bread or a carton of milk) so yes, these bakeries, but also many major supermarkets supply reusable shopping bags at a small cost to supposedly reduce the use of plastic bags. You’d think that because these establishments provide an eco-friendly option, that they would encourage the use of them. Isn’t that the whole point?
It would seem fairly obvious that the intent for providing such an option is to indeed promote, educate and encourage using reusable shopping bags in a genuine attempt to eliminate or at least greatly reduce the use of plastic bags due to the fact that they are environmentally unfriendly on so many levels. Consequently, employees that continue to push the use of plastic bags make it apparent that this is not the case at all. To the onlooker, unfortunately, this appears more like a ploy to make some extra bucks on the re-usable shopping bags for sale while also “appearing” to be eco-friendly, when in fact they are not. Boo!
So to all major supermarkets and stores in Cyprus that employ this irresponsible, over relaxed use of plastic bags, I suggest, (and I’m sure I’m not alone in doing so) a little more emphasis be placed on your eco-friendly methods because it really doesn’t look good, but more importantly it’s a hazard to the world we live in. Yes. It really is. We know that huge establishments such as supermarkets contribute to A LOT of waste. Why not do your little bit and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags, if not for the environment, do it to cut back on expenses! Kill two birds with one stone, break two pinatas with one stick, feed 2 dogs with one bone… you get the picture. 🙂
That’s my rant this week ladies and gents. Keep it in mind and say no to plastic when buying a tyropita or loukanikopita for breakfast or whatever it may be and remember to take your reusable shopping bags with you when you next go for your weekly shop. You’ll set an example and that can spiral into a whole lot of people following. We can make a difference, no matter how small. Aww, just thought of it gives me a warm feeling inside.