Thursday, March 23, 2006

Plastic Over Paper

The chirpy checkout girl at the local farmer's market asked me "Do you have a bagging preference this evening ?" The inordinately long time it took for me to answer her must have made her wonder if I had understood the question.

She stood there waiting politely for my preference be declared . I said "Plastic will be fine" feeling that was the wrong choice as soon as I had made it.

I am always in a quandary when asked to choose between paper and plastic. What exactly makes one a better choice over the other ? At what point does wholesome turn unsustainable ? Is it right to assume that the consumer has access to all relevant data points to make an informed decision ? Is it reasonable to expect they be able to process such data in all of thirty seconds that the bagging assistant allows for the task ?

Yet, I made a decision that contributed to a landfill hoping in return a tree somewhere gained an extra lease of life. Maybe in truth my plastic will be recycled and that tree be reduced to mulch to make way for a high-rise.

So much for social consciousness and a conscience.

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