Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Would you like your bag in a bag?

Shoppers have rushed to Sainsbury's stores in the UK, many no doubt driving actual motorised vehicles, to snap up the retailer's entire 20,000 stocks of cotton shopping bags emblazoned with the words I'm not a plastic bag.

The bags were described by one paper as the 'latest must-have celeb eco-statement', which, as a collection of words, is beyond parody.

So why did people go nuts over a cotton bag? I don't know. There could be a number of reasons:

1) Because the bags are good for the environment.
2) Because the bags were designed by a famous designer.
3) Because every B-grade celebrity (i.e. people you've never heard of and don't want to or people you have heard of but wish you hadn't) is toting one around London and people want to look like B-grade celebrities.

We can rule out reason one immediately because even the most rudimentary research reveals that cotton is bad for the environment in terms of both water consumption and usage of chemicals in growth, processing and manufacture of finished items.

So it must be reason two or three. Let's ask the designer, Anya Hindmarch:

'Basically, we want people to decline plastic bags wherever possible. We can make it cool for people to do the right thing and fashion gives people a platform to do that.'

Like it wouldn't occur to people in a million years to do the right thing if it wasn't 'cool'.

So yes; reason two or three, take your pick. Any environmental benefit is good, but coincidental. Otherwise if B-grade celebrities did stupid things like starving themselves or taking drugs, people would ignore them. No, wait. Hold that last comment.

Miss Hindmarch added: 'People have gone ballistic. David Cameron wants one ... .'

David Cameron? He would want one. He's the UK politician who rode a bicycle to work to show how 'green' he was - while a car followed him carrying his bag.

This is sheer media-driven tokenism. If people haven't figured out prudent habits for themselves, then they'll never get it. Everything else is just a stunt.

Meanwhile, fun with anagrams: rearrange the letters in the words I'm not a plastic bag and you get, variously, Lambasting a topic, It's placating a mob and, my favourite, Campaign a bit lost.

Disclosure: I avoid plastic bags as much as possible. I avoid supermarkets as much as possible. I avoid celebrities as much as possible.


Cindy said...

I haven't laughed on the outside (and cried on the inside) this much for some time.

I'm becoming troubled by these 'green' bags that are being forced on me (at no charge) at many non-supermarket shops. While I do reuse some of them for groceries, it's impossible for me to reuse all of the ones now accumulating in my cupboard. I suspect they're at least as bad as the plastic buggers I line my garbage with.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

The glory of the media! They've done it again.

Lucy said...


Great anagrams. Celebrity avoidance is high on my list too...

Linda said...

You can't even get plastic bags at the grocery stores in most parts of France. You either have to buy some green bags or take the items out to your car and throw it in the trunk.

Julie said...

Thank you, thank you, for pointing out how un-friendly cotton is. As a plant freak and a knitter, I fear that I may yet slug someone who tells me wool is 'cruel' while sanctimoniously knitting cotton.

If we recycled our grocery bags they'd probably be 'greener' than cotton.

And I do have a cotton shopping bag. And I did buy it for the logo (a granola store in Honolulu). And, um. I use it to carry my knitting. Haha.