“Take your canvas bags to the supermarket…”

Everyone sing along now; “take your canvas bags when you go to the supermarket”. Oh, just me? Don’t you know that one? Ok, well I’ll stop the hippy love-in sing along and get on with the task in hand.

I went to Budgens to get my lunch today, as I do every day, and bought all the things I buy, every day. One Muller light yogurt for tomorrow’s breakfast, check. One Plum Tomato and Basil New Covent Garden Soup, check. Two Cox’s apples, check. I went to the same till and was served by the same, weird socially inept boy. As I was paying, he asked me if I wanted a bag. I thought for a milisecond and replied “no, they drive me insane.”

Without a second thought, he said “oh, because they are so bad for the environment?”

Now at this point, I could have left the conversation with a scrap of dignity. Instead, I chose to do the Bryony thing of digging a hole and jumping head first in. “Phh, middle class guilt” I mock, before saying “my desk drawer is full of Budgens bags. It’s driving me insane.”

There are a couple of things wrong with this conversation. Firstly and most importantly, I think, my desk drawer is not full of Budgens bags. What on earth possessed me to say it was? I think I thought it would be entertaining, but I didn’t allow myself long enough to work it out in my head. My second issue with my response is that no matter how much I bash the Daily Mail and the Express, I do think that by my parentage, I am unmistakably middle class.

Now is that what I really think? Am I really a heartless, uncaring bastard who throws life away without a second thought? I hope not. I get a little bit wound up when people say “I would recycle, but my efforts alone are worthless” or something to that effect. If we all think that, then nothing would ever change. Having said that, I’m not as good as I could be. Typical of the casual lunch-time shopper, I forget to take canvas (or other bags) with me when I buy my lunch. The problem is, there are so many things that we have to remember in life and this one isn’t one that pains me enough to remind me to change my lifestyle.

I have no idea what the size of my carbon footprint is, but in the modern age it seems so hard to change that. I make an effort to unplug my phone charger when I’m not using it and I turn my laptop off. Thing is, I can’t see that that makes a huge difference. I work for a company that employs over 5000 people and we don’t even recycle our paper. I worked for Tesco and we lectured our customers to recycle when we threw away reams and reams of plastic. The big fat cats need to take some responsibility as well as us. I’m more than happy to try my best, but my efforts are nothing compared to them.

Alone, our attempts are futile, but perhaps it’s time to remember that we aren’t alone. We are all taking a small step to change the world and as such, we are together. We are making a difference. So next time, don’t be like me and use that excuse as thinly veiled disguise for your laziness.


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