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Day 3 - "Do you need a bag with that?"

July 03, 2017
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It’s Plastic Free July, and I'm challenging myself to find alternatives to single use plastic for an entire month - and to write a daily blog on the most interesting parts of the experience. Today I wanted to find a plastic free takeaway option for lunch.

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It’s great to see more and more shops reducing their plastic waste. A few months ago, the gozleme kiosk in Watertown replaced their styrofoam takeaway containers with cardboard, so that’s where I went for today’s takeaway.

When the customer in front of me was given a plastic bag to carry his container in, I assumed he had a long way to walk and wanted to carry it on his arm rather than hold it in his hands. He accepted the plastic bag, but wrapped it around the container and held it in his hands anyway, negating the need for the bag. These containers aren’t hot either, so it wasn’t for insulation.

Like many people in the city at lunchtime, this man was probably rushing on his break and still thinking about work. I don’t think he even noticed the bag. 

This is why I think it’s powerful when retailers ask, “do you need a bag with that?” We’re taken out of autopilot and we’re invited to feel good when we reply, “no thanks”.

When we’re busy (or hungry!), we’re even more inclined to choose the path of least resistance. So when retailers give us a bag, it takes less energy to keep it. But when retailers ask us a question, it takes less energy to say, “no thanks”. 

Through Plastic Free WA, I’m advocating for a statewide ban on single use plastic bags. But in the meantime, I think retailers and consumers can collaborate to reduce plastic’s role in society.

 

What do you think - does the question “do you need a bag with that” help prevent plastic waste? What else could retailers do?

 

Inspired? Start your own challenge here!

 

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