Who invented the
H. Deubner, a grocer in
Minnesota, observed that his customersí
purchases were limited by what they could conveniently carry. So he set
about devising a way to help them buy more at one time. It took him four
years to develop the right solution: a prefabricated package, inexpensive,
easy to use-and strong enough to carry up to seventy-five pounds worth of
groceries. The package consisted of a paper bag with cord running through
it for strength. Deubner named his new product after himself, calling it
the "Deubner Shopping Bag," and sold it for five cents. Deubner patented
his product and within three years, by 1915, was selling over a million
shopping bags a year.
wonderful as it was, has since led to an ecological crisis. See
To make paper
shopping bags you need to cut down trees. A tree takes years to grow and
you use a paper bag just once and throw it away. That is why most
sensitive and aware people are saying no to paper shopping bags.
Plastic is even
worse. Plastic is a material that has a life of hundreds of years. It
makes sense to use it for making canal linings or boats or roofs that need
to withstand atmospheric degradation for long periods of time. It doesnít
make any sense to use it for shopping bags Ė something you will use once
and throw away.
But you canít shop
without shopping bags. Itís a good idea to use cotton shopping bags
instead. They are re-usable, can be washed, and are completely
environmentally benign. Or you could consider a jute shopping bag. Stylish
texture and a long life. Cotton washes better.
In fact, any fabric
shopping bag is a good idea. Even if you use a man made fiber like nylon
or polyester or polypropylene, which are not biodegradable like cotton and
jute are, the fact that you re-use them makes them far kinder to the
environment than plastic shopping bags are.
Arenít fabric bags
more expensive? Yes, in the beginning they do appear to be. But just a wee
bit. The fact that they get re-used soon makes them cheaper than any
plastic bag. Look at our product pages. You'll be pleased to see how
economical these great looking fabric bags can be.
From the shop ownerís
point of view they are much, much cheaper, because they display his name and
logo every time they get re-used and become a walking billboard for him.
The initial low price
of a shopping bag hides another fact. That the eventual disposal of the
plastic shopping bags you throw away is something that is costing you more
and more in terms of taxes every year.
So, here's my appeal
to you as a fellow inhabitant of Earth. Please switch to fabric
shopping bags from today.
Have a contrary
point of view? Would you like to discuss this? Mail me at rajiv at
badlani.com. I love a good discussion. A good argument is even more fun.