15 January 2008
The title of this post is the term used in Ireland for plastic shopping bags caught in trees. The Word Fugitive column in the Atlantic collected some other appropriate phrases, including "shoppers kites" and "urban tumbleweed." I decided to blog this today after encountering an article in Consumerist in which a Best Buy employee told a customer that company policy prohibited him from carrying a videogame out of the store unless it was in a plastic bag (!!).
Plastic shopping bags are a well-recognized scourge on the environment. One doesn't have to be a tree-hugger to understand not only the visual blight they create, but the dangers to wildlife. They are mistaken for jellyfish by sea turtles and other marine life; Planet Ark has a compilation of such tales, and thousands more can be found with a quick Google search. I was delighted to read earlier this week an NPR report that China has banned plastic bags.
Our household is virtually plastic-bag-free; we have canvas bags (from Lands End) that we take to the grocery store. Some stores even give a small credit on purchases to customers who bring their own bags. I encourage others to try this; it's not difficult.