Sunday, June 1, 2008

When Size Matters...

...How 0.005 mm Can Make A Big Difference

China put an end on the production to the ultra-thin plastic bags (i.e 0.025 mm thickness) at the end of last year and has forbidden shops to hand out free bags as of today. The new bags which are 0.03 millimeters thick are priced between 0.2 and 0.4 yuan depending on size.

I knew it was coming, we have been warned since the beginning of the year. But I still went grocery shopping without my “I’m not a plastic bag” (“genuine” of course) so I had to pay 30 mao (€0.03 - $0.05) per plastic bag to be able to carry my groceries home. On the other hand I now have to buy bags for my trash so I need to investigate how much they cost to see if I’m better off asking for the “paying bag”. I am kidding of course; I couldn’t believe it when I first arrived in Beijing some 22 years months ago (when you live in China you have to count in dog Chinese years) how many plastic bags they used. And I’ve learned not to protest when they wrap your fruits or vegetables in several bags then put them in a bigger plastic bag. Once I try to put as much things as possible in one bag, the woman wouldn’t let me do it, she didn’t understand why I didn’t want her bags and I just couldn’t remember in the spare of the moment how to say, “but it’s not good for the environment, it takes over 100 years for a bag to disintegrate in nature”…. And that’s what made me want to study Chinese more diligently!!!!!!!

Now I’ll have to coordinate my (grocery) bag with my outfit!!

China uses more plastic bags than any other country (up to 3 billion plastic shopping bags a day) and squanders 37 million barrels of crude oil on plastic bag production every year.
Ireland, South Africa, Bangladesh and even Uganda are some of the nations that already have a ban in effect. In theory, China should find it easier to switch to cloth, vinyl or bamboo bags, because many consumers gave those up only in the 1990s.