Tim Walker’s Single-Use

Imagine having an item in need of quick packaging, going to the kitchen and pulling open the fourth drawer down to find that, shock horror, you’ve run out of single-use plastic bags.

That very nightmare, in the weekend, became my reality; with a gargantuan head of freshly cut broccoli in one hand I had pulled open the world-renowned bag-drawer then watched, aghast, as my world of store-bought simplicity had come crashing down around me.

Seemingly the New Zealand Government and indeed, Governments worldwide, have sought out the most basic eco-related issue to resurrect and have then made a big thing of doing just that.

The issue I take with this is that there are so many other, potentially more serious, problems on which our Governments ought to be focusing; pollution is a major one and granted, there is a feeble Government effort underway to mitigate this plight, but ultimately they must have realised, from a political standpoint, it’s much more straightforward to condemn, exaggerate the dangers of, then to outright vilify, something that for many of us, is not just a single-use waste product, it’s a multi-use depiction of versatility…

Do not misunderstand me, I am all for conservation, eco-awareness and the like, and sure, in some places, perhaps single-use plastic bags are a problem but out here, in the New Zealand countryside, oh Lord, won’t you please, at least give us some of those flimsy wonders – these things are bin liners, they’re dirty boot transporters, they’re freshly picked vegetable holders, they’re sports gear packagers, they’re returning-a-garment carriers, they’re home-kill meat freezer-bags – in fact there are few things for which these single-use (although I’m pretty sure we can stretch it out to nearer 100) plastic bags can’t be used.

…In my opinion, as mentioned above, this is a clear example of leadership laziness. It is so very easy for a Government to cajole a nation of eco-wannabes onboard an eco-bandwagon – or any other kind of bandwagon, for that matter – simply by having the media disseminate hysteria on an issue of their choosing; ‘if you don’t use a clean-burning fire you’re killing the world’, also, ‘fuel-guzzling cars are killing the world’, ‘takeaway coffee cups are killing the world’, ‘single-use plastic bags are killing the whales’, ‘plastic straws are killing the turtles’, ‘cigarettes are on target to kill everybody in the world’, or conversely, ‘if a consumer does not ensure they rid surfaces of 99% of bacteria (leaving every one in a hundred bacteria free to thrive which, providing that one is not asexual or, heaven forbid, manages to locate the other surviving 1% from the other bacterial holocaust that morning and start a bacterium production-line, should be fine), they will probably die too’.

Government induced hysteria (as noted, I am not against benefitting the environment, I am simply against world leaders exaggerating, or outright lying, about stuff for largely their own gain #politicalpopularity), scaremongering or Government manipulation is as dangerous as the nature of the negativity it pervades; I am still bemused though as to how, with such passionate and widespread condemnation of tobacco products, the New Zealand Government chooses to remain unmoved on the nation’s number one drain on the financial and healthcare sectors, alcohol – they seriously have the gumption to bemoan the ‘damaging effects’ of tobacco consumption while the effects of alcohol become progressively more costly, yet increasingly affordable hence available thus damaging, to everyone…? (Incidentally, at last count tobacco tax revenue was still a few $billion greater than that from alcohol, too; sadly though, single-use plastic bags were not able to ever generate any tax benefit to our Government.)

Admittedly, families can maybe do without their log-burners, petrol-heads can maybe do without their V8 engines, coffee drinkers can maybe do without their disposable cups,  cocktail drinkers can maybe do without their straws, smokers can maybe do without their cigarettes but can we, as ordinary people, ever be expected to do without our beloved single-use plastic bags?



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Gav E Mint

Photography by Mannip U Lotion

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