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A trip to the tip

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I’ve only had about 15 carrier bags from shops this year – it was a new year’s resolution: I would say no whenever I could and therefore cut down my personal use of plastic carrier bags.  The biggest win has been “town” shopping.  When I used to feel a new skirt had to go in an M&S carrier, I now pop it in a pre-existing bag of my own.  It’s been a successful campaign and one I urge you all to join.  The only down side is that shopkeepers do often give me funny looks and on a bad day I can seem a little crotchety with them, when I insist that I can carry a sandwich, drink and packet of crisps without the aid of their bag…

But, I’ve noticed something worrisome, which is this.  Since my campaign and since it rightly became hard to get a free carrier bag in supermarkets, we’ve acquired a very large number of re-usable bags.  Many of them so-called bags-for-life; when I count mine, I see a long life ahead of me.  Many are hessian; carrying various worthy messages.  A few are cloth; my personal favourite from the 2005 Hay Festival.  I came to realise a fundamental flaw, I had got into the habit of buying a re-usable bag whenever I liked the look of it, because it was better than using a shop plastic bag.

Since that “obvious with hindsight” realisation, I then discovered a far more fundamental truth.  If I want to reduce my impact on the world’s ecosystem, then the carrier bag in which I place my shopping is the wrong worry.  The right worry is the shopping itself.  What junk have I bought, so that I can carry it in a re-useable bag.  What clothes have I worn no more than a handful of times.   How many times do I need to buy the paper at the weekend, before I realise I really should read it before it goes in the recycling pile…

So now, I go shopping with a small re-useable bag and mostly only buy those things that I really need. Oh, and if anyone knows a good place to recycle bags for life, let me know…

My daughter is 9 next week.  I want her to be 9.  I work hard to keep the child in her alive and defer her teenage years until she is at least, oh I don’t know, let’s say thirteen.  So that can’t be so hard?

You’d hope not, but this is a great example of the kind of thing which sets me off: ‘Boob-Job piggy bank’.  I was going to link to the original site, but don’t want to give them the pleasure of the page views…  Thanks to Karmadillo for sending that one through.

Why ever would you present that as a purchase for a child?  Or frankly an adult, but that’s a whole different blog post.

This article gives some good clues; Kids Today are growing up way too fast.  “Marketeers call them “tweens”: kids between eight and 12, midway between childhood and adolescence. But tweens are becoming more like teens, leaning more and more toward teen styles, teen attitudes and teen behavior at its most troubling” 

And the striking findings reported in that article place a large part of the solution firmly at my door:  “Kids are on their own, goes the premise”.  Parental absence (they suggest through parents working long hours without reference to full time absenteeism) is a major factor in this.  

Phew, so glad I work for an organisation that gets it: one which allows me to reduce my working hours and do them flexibly, so I can pick her up from school and take her to her activities – or just flop in front of a film together.

So ironic though, that I should be the one sitting at home alone, with no real plans for the day whilst I write this.  An absent child… My daughter, out all day acting her heart out with a bunch of creative tweens.  Her peers are where, why “up town” of course indulging in the “fad-crazed marketplace” of the greedy marketeers.

And me, well I think I’ll just pop up town, see you later…

 

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