Back to the Future

Now this is interesting.  The Chinese government announced yesterday that, beginning on June 1,  stores and shops in China will no longer be able to give out free plastic bags to customers.  They will need to bring their own cloth or string bags for their items.  We’ve come full circle now.  When I first went to China in the mid-1980’s there were no plastic bags.  Everyone had their own mesh bags or baskets and took them along when they went shopping. We used to think it was wonderful.  Then China modernized and went the route of plastic bags, which soon became a blight on the national landscape.  Literally.  They are discarded everywhere, and when the wind in a Chinese city picks up (like it often does in Beijing), they fly all over the place, ending up in trees and powerlines.  I remember once biking in the countryside outside of a city in the northeast and seeing an entire field covered in pink and blue plastic bags. We thought we had stumbled on the farm where they were grown!  The plastic bags are convenient, that’s for sure, but I think China might be better off without them.  We’ll see soon enough!