The war on plastic bags has been gathering pace for a while now. In recent years, so-called 'eco-bags' – basically just bags made from materials that are a little more durable than your average plastic bag – have become the weapon of choice for those on the front line in the battle to make our society more green. The only flaw with these bags is that they seem to have become something of a fashion accessory, with well-known celebrities being pictured carrying them round the streets of London in popular magazines. The worry is this: what happens when eco bags are no longer fashionable? Will people simply forget their right-on ethics and start using plastic bags again, just like they did with fur once that particular moral high ground became lonely?
It seems that another weapon is needed. A more practical – if slightly less fashionable – alternative is the good old-fashioned shopping trolley. Not the type of trolley that you use to carry your shopping around the store, but the kind of trolley often used by the elderly to transport their shopping from the supermarket back to their homes – the type that has two wheels at the bottom and is pulled like a suitcase.
These trolleys have several advantages. Firstly, they are much bigger than your average eco bag – or plastic bag. There is no reason why you cannot fit your entire load of shopping into one of these. They are also likely to last much longer than most eco bags, which at best are likely to look a little tatty after a year or so. A good, sturdy trolley might last you several years.
And if that does not sound like enough reasons to start using a trolley when you do your shopping, consider these two additional points. Firstly, the trolley can be used in place of a regular supermarket trolley while you are in the store. This means saving the hassle of having to find a trolley in the car park and making sure you have got a coin to release its lock. If everyone did this there would also be a lot less congestion in the store itself, because personal shopping trolleys take up much less space.
Secondly, trolleys could help the environment in another, unexpected way. One of the biggest challenges for those fighting global warming is figuring out ways to encourage the public to ditch their cars in favour of public transport. Shopping trolleys are much more public transport-friendly than either plastic bags or eco bags because they allow you to carry much more weight – which is exactly why the elderly have been using them all these years. Bags were designed for the car-dependant generation; trolleys could well be the surprise hit of the environmentally-aware generation.
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