I cringe every time one of my roommates come home with new plastic shopping bags from the grocery store across the street. Ok, I agree that sometimes it can be hard to remember to bring your own shopping bag but really, all it takes is a little effort and soon it becomes a natural habit. Especially if you leave the house with the specific intention of going grocery shopping (like one of my roommates does every Saturday morning), how inconvenient is it to bring along a couple bags from the stash that fills an entire cupboard full? I admit that I still use plastic bags, there’s no doubt about that, but the plastic bags I use are ones that I reuse over and over again until a hole appears or the handle breaks. What I don’t do is get new plastic bags every time I make a purchase. I already have lots of old plastic bags from the past and I try to use them instead of accumulate more. On most occasions I’ll have with me one large cloth bag and 2 smaller bags whenever I go out. I like carrying big purses, and as this is the current fashion trend for many women around the world, carrying along a couple extra bags poses no inconvenience at all. I mean really, they’re small, light, compact, and they could save you from many potentially disastrous situations.
In addition to the major retail chains that are cutting down on the number of plastic bags given to customers, I’ve also noticed some smaller clothing and shoe stores are starting to switch to cloth bags as well. These bags are usually thin and plain looking, and may or may not have the store’s name printed on it, but they get the job done and, more importantly, are better for the environment. Another trend that has become more apparent throughout Hong Kong is small, compact nylon bags, which makes carrying one with you even more convenient. Most of the ones I’ve seen come in a variety of colourful designs and sell for as cheap as two Canadian dollars. One of my favourites is a design that folds up into the shape of a strawberry, making it trendy for even the young fashion-conscious teenager to look cool while shopping and doing her part to protect her planet.