Witches’ Knickers

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Witches’ Knickers

I’ve been in Florida visiting my father-in-law. It’s a good thing to get a look at what’s Green (or not) in another part of the United States (Florida’s an interesting case, too: a “red” state with a large “blue” population, at least in winter). I saw a “Pesticide-Free Park” sign, which I’ve never come across before, and a huge “Organic” sign in the supermarket. It was a wooden sign (or wood look-alike rustic) and hung at the front of the store above an alcove of packaged foods. We saw it only after checking out! (Talk about a half-hearted effort by Publix.)

And the checkout people wanted to pack every single item in a separate plastic bag. I know that paper bags aren’t a benign choice, but hadn’t realized just what a global problem plastic carrier bags had become till I read an article in New Scientist called “Battle of the bag” (11 September 2004) which explained that the mobility of plastic bags makes them far more dangerous than they might otherwise be. They’re called “‘witches’ knickers’ in Ireland, ‘white pollution’ in China.” Estimates are that we use 150 bags per person each year – a million a minute!

It’s a surprisingly hard habit to kick, I find, as I endlessly remind my husband to take bags with him to the supermarket. But it’s easy to say ‘no’ to them, as I did even at the airport on the way home yesterday.

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