Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2022 Blog #38
September 26, 2022
Celebrating a Paper Bag Resurrection
Not always, but frequently, I eat Wanton soup for lunch on Thursdays. I don’t know how I got into this habit. It just seemed to evolve. It is a soup that I enjoy weekly, especially in cold weather. Until recently my soup was served in a plastic container in a plastic bag. Now, plastic bags are no longer available and my soup container was served in a paper shopping bag. I really like carrying a paper bag again. They are nostalgic for me.
I was a young man when plastic bags first began replacing paper bags in most stores. I remember many older women complain that plastic bags did not keep their shape like the paper bags did. When these bags first came into use, most people I know (myself included) requested a paper bag inside the plastic one. This helped the plastic bags keep their shapes. The use of the paper bags allowed us to use fewer bags and to store our groceries in fewer bags.
Gradually, stores phased out paper bags and went exclusively to plastic bags. The claim was that these plastic bags would save trees by using less paper. I didn’t hear anyone explaining what would happen to all of this plastic that was put in landfills. Most people I knew were angry when paper bags were discontinued. It was a commonly held belief that the stores were using plastic because they were cheaper and not to protect trees.
Now, forty years later, as most communities have mandatory recycling of bottles and cans, the thin plastic bags were not eligible for recycling at households. Instead, stores had bins to collect these. Over these decades I saw very few bags going into these bins and I always wondered if these bags were simply taking up space in landfills.
Now we are back to paper bags as the disposal of plastic has become a real issue. These bags are polluting our earth as they don’t seem to lend themselves to recycling. In short, instead of making paper bags from recycled paper, we shifted to plastic and greatly increased the poisons that we dump into the earth. We didn’t think about the future implications of our impulsive shift from paper to plastic.
When we act impulsively or with short-sighted goals, we often cause negative consequences for future generations. For the sake of people who will be following us in life, we need to think through the implications of our actions. Our actions will have impact upon the future. Let us be careful in what we do so that our actions will have good consequences.
So, will I be using paper bags from stores? Not very often. For years I’ve been using re-usable cloth bags. I believe that these are the best choice.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/