Monday, January 21, 2008

It ain't easy being green

Boy, Kermit sure had it right, but I don't think he was talking about the environment when he sang those words so many years ago.

For three years, my husband and I have shopped every Sunday at our local farmers' market. In addition to the usual fare, our market has several vendors who sell artisan soaps. We like these soaps very much, but much to our chagrin, every time we buy it, we have to FIGHT not to get a bag.

I heard today on NPR that one trillion plastic bags are produced every year, about 1,000 for every person on the planet. Even before I knew that horrifying piece of trivia, I've been a fan of reusable, canvas shopping bags. I mean really, it's not that hard to say, "I don't need a bag." Five simple words that can do a lot of good for our seriously diseased planet.

Five simple words that are simple to say, but not so easy to hear, at least not for any of the three different soap vendors at our market. Every other vendor at the market has always respected the fact we bring our own bags. Soap vendors really have an issue with it, even when I show them that one of our canvas bags actually has a separate pocket where the soap can sit all by its lonesome, safe from whatever terrifying injuries our tangerines might want to inflict on it.

We've tried all sorts of tricks to avoid arguing with the soap vendors. At one vendor, we've learned to always have exact change --that way we can pick up our bar and scoot away while he's still waving a plastic bag at us. Yesterday, however, we bought from a vendor who has to cut the bars from a large brick. Despite our objections, our soap was wrapped in a cardboard take-out container, which I have now set aside to bring back to the market so I can avoid having another one forced on me next week.

What are these soap vendors so in love with their packaging? Is naked soap really so offensive? Or perhaps they are afraid that without a bag, their beloved soaps might -- gasp! -- get dirty???

No comments: