As a rule, we don't celebrate individuals who jump on the plastic ban wagon—hey people, we’re called PlasticsToday for a reason—but this story out of Vancouver, British Columbia, made me laugh. And when you’re laughing, it’s hard to crank up the outrage. That city's East West Market is giving plastic bags to people who forget to bring their reusable bag, but there’s a catch: The bags have fake logos, such as “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” and “The Colon Care Co-op.” The idea is to shame people into bringing their own bags or, as in the photo below from the shop’s Facebook page, just pile everything into their arms and hope for the best.
“We wanted to create a conversation and I think that was accomplished,” shop owner David Lee Kwen told Vancouver’s CTVNews. “It’s actually a year-long project. We’ve been trying to get usage down.” On the part about creating a conversation, he’s absolutely right. The ploy has received a barrage of media coverage, including in the New York Times and the Guardian. As for getting people to just say no to single-use plastic bags, though, the campaign might be backfiring.
Funny or Die, the website started by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, reported on the story, and it received several comments on its Facebook page that did not align with Kwen’s intent. “Greetings from Texas!” wrote one Facebook friend. “How do I order these bags? If I come up to visit, is there a limit to how many I can use?”
One user in New Jersey noted that people with whom he shared the story wanted to know where the store was so they could get one of these bags. “They were very amused and considered them a novelty. Considering the fact that demographics change with location, I'd like to suggest a message to put on your bags that would be more effective at reducing plastic use here in the Garden State: "STD Hotline 1-800-GOT-CLAP.”
Inevitably, on the other end of the spectrum, some cyber scolds took Kwen to task for shaming people with colon issues, reported CTV News.
And that’s the way it is, as someone used to say.
Images: East West Market.