Photo by Mladen Antonov / AFP via Getty Images
People in Thailand are stuffing their T-shirts, luggage, laundry hampers, and buckets with groceries after a ban on plastic bags in select retailers in the country went into effect on January 1st. Creative shoppers brought in wheelbarrows, fishing nets, and even what looks like an impressive piece of pottery to haul their groceries home.
Thailand started 2020 with a major plastic bag ban so now Thais have made it a trend to put their shoppings in random things & i’m living for it LMFAO pic.twitter.com/7QtkMD1oax— siam (@sihamese) January 4, 2020
Thailand no longer allows major stores to offer customers single-use plastic bags, and by 2021, they won’t be allowed at any shops. The move has inspired shoppers to reuse everyday household items for their errands, which is arguably better for the environment than buying a new reusable bag. A reusable polyester bag needs to be used 35 times and a cotton tote bag used 7,100 times before their environmental impacts (when it comes to water and energy use) fall below that of a typical flimsy plastic grocery bag, according to one study by Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food.
The trend is flooding social media, thanks in part to this entertaining Facebook album. My personal favorites feature the shoppers toting empty 50-pound bags that once held rice that Asian kids like me dread helping their parents drag into the house. Now, we can drag in those big, awkward bags filled with all kinds of other stuff.
Posted by เจ๊โชว์ พาลุย on Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Other people are using less environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic grocery bags, including plastic trash bags. All single-use plastics, like trash bags and grocery bags, contribute to the ongoing climate crisis. They’re not only made using fossil fuels, but plastic pollution is creating giant floating garbage patches in the ocean and in our seafood. Plastic trash’s deadly toll helped raise concerns about pollution in Thailand last year after a deer and a dugong (a sea mammal similar to a manatee) died after gorging themselves on plastic.
Mexico City also rang in the New Year with a new ban on plastic bags. There, the law is expected to bring back traditional ways of packaging and carrying goods, like using straw baskets and paper rolled up in cones. “We have a very rich history in ways to wrap things,” Claudia Hernández, the city’s director of environmental awareness, told The Associated Press.