Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two bags only, please

I am appalled at the number of plastic bags that are used to bag groceries at the grocery store. I have never understood why or how 12 plastic bags can be used for just 15 items. I totally agree with separating detergents and other non-edible goods from the edible ones, and I also understand keeping breakable/squishable (is that a word?!) items separate from heavier, more sturdy ones … but why do the cucumbers have to go in a separate bag from the cauliflower? Is it not possible to put the milk and

the salad dressing in the same bag? What is the logic behind not filling a bag up to the top before reaching for another one?

I haven’t really made a big deal about the overuse of plastic bags in the past. Inevitably I would reuse them at some point or another, so I didn’t really bother to say anything … but now, my plastic bag container has reached its limit and I have realized that I can’t use them fast enough!

So yesterday, I decided to follow my dear friend Raine’s lead and tell the guy who bags the grocery ‘two bags only, please.’ He looked at me quizzically as the cashier slid the items towards him. He started to put the detergents in one bag and the food in another bag. However, after only putting a packet of milk in the bag he reached for a third one. I quickly put my hand out and said – no, only two. Fill them up. He stared at me blankly. Another guy came up to him and asked him (in Bengali) what was going on. Not knowing I was Bangladeshi, and that I could understand them, he complained and said that I was crazy and that the bags would be too heavy if he put everything in two bags. They continued to have a bit of a laugh about the situation – I wanted to explain why I only wanted two bags (in Bengali) but decided against it as I did not want to go through the usual reaction that most Bangladeshis seem to have when the find out that I'm Bangladeshi as well (they simply don't believe me - even when I speak Bengali!) ... plus I was in a bit of a hurry. He tried, one more time, to reach for a third bag, but I just shook my head and repeated – only two please. He shrugged, reluctantly put the last item in the bag, and handed the two bags to me, and I left – happy with my two bags in hand.

At the moment, there really doesn’t seem to be any awareness or concern with recycling in Kuwait. Occasionally I will see a recycling box – but I don’t know if people take them seriously. I’ve seen all sorts of garbage dumped in the paper recycling boxes that are at work. What’s worse, I’ve seen our office assistant shred all the papers that were in the recycling box and dump the shredded paper in the regular trash … the concept just doesn’t seem to have caught on – and I really don’t see any steps being made towards making a change. I do know that there are one or two companies in Kuwait that have facilities to recycle – now it’s just about promoting the idea and getting people to participate.


Raine said...

You should see their faces when I bring along my reusable canvas bags and ask them to fill those up to the top! I usually just take over bagging the stuff, and then they think I am even more nuts! :)))

Shimul Hyder said...

KL is very conscientious in that way. Lots of people take their own reusable bags or bag cart. The cashier always asks if you want plastic bags and then charges a nominal fee for each one.

Jessica said...

I've never seen as many wasted bags as I have in Kuwait. Sometimes I get only one item per bag and I just don't get it. Maybe other's will catch on to what you're doing and follow suit :)