Written by Toro Adeyemi
Last week, I took the D train from Columbus Circle after a workout at NYSC. Whenever I travel around the city and see a cotton tote bag, I can’t help but to direct my eyes to the top right corner, searching for the identifiable, green ECOBAGS® logo. This happens at least three times a week when the weather is cold, and much more frequently when it’s warmer out, sometimes multiple times a day!
On this day, I saw a woman with a WNYC Radio tote bag, which I see most regularly around the city. It’s easy to spot given the bold, red graphics and the big W N Y C blocking. Most times, I’ll snap a picture and send a text to Sharon, Eco-Bags Products Founder, sharing where exactly I’ve spotted the tote. I’ll either ask the person to pose in a shot, or take one in action (not showing the identity of the person, because to stop everyone I see with an ECOBAGS® tote would be quite the task!).
I sit down in the subway, and the woman happened to sit right next to me. I said, “You’ve got an ECOBAGS® tote! I used to work at the company up in Westchester.” We then got into a conversation about what I used to do there as a Brand Strategist, how she uses totes to transport her plastic waste out to recycling, and how she still uses plastic bags sometimes, though she attempts to reuse them as much as possible. I shared that there are certain brands that produce biodegradable trash bags, which led to discussing the conundrum of paying for what you could easily get for free.
That is a general theme for people who are comfortable in their habits, and it’s understandable. Why spend money on something that betters the environment when you can do what you normally do, for free?
Firstly, I think most people don’t even think about their actions when it comes to plastic waste – it’s just a non-factor in their everyday lives. Those that have the thought but still use single-use bags tend to feel that their contributions are miniscule -- “Oh, I’m just one person, I’m not really ‘destroying the planet.’” Using the rule of generalizability, imagine if everyone were to feel and act that way… All of these individual actions create massive effects! I’ve always appreciated the ECOBAGS ® motto, “Cleaning up the planet, one bag at a time TM“ for the concept it suggests. Every plastic bag you don’t use is a step towards bettering the planet.
The next time you’re at the grocery store or the deli and picking up a few small items, ask yourself, “Do I really need this plastic bag?” I see this in my office, too. Colleagues go across the street for a sandwich and come back with it in a plastic bag. Is this necessary? Really, it’s not. At the start of the day, I want people to be more conscious of their actions and the greater consequences on the environment. If we all keep these habits in mind, we’re doing a greater part to keeping the planet Green!
The woman got off at West 4th and made a transfer to the F, and I eventually transferred to an M train. With every conversation I have such as this, I wonder if our dialogue will be enough to inspire a bit of change.