Thursday, April 16, 2009

Universal Ecobags

Six degrees can change the world as we know it, said the natural scientists. Only eight years after climate change was brought to our attention quite effecively, numerous natural disasters have struck our country. What with the flooding of towns never before exposed to it, or abnormally heavy rains, a change in the temperature patterns and many more.

The campaign to save the earth, our earth, has increasingly become aggressive. Since the very first Earth Hour, the participants have increased a thousand-fold, with the Philippines reportedly among the top countries who pledged to turn off their lights. Aside from this, private corporations have jumped into the climate change bandwagon and actually cashed in on it.

If my memory serves me right, on 2005, 4 years after the official climate change report on 2001, the Philippines has finally started to raise public awareness on healthier, alternative lifestyle.

I first saw aggressive alternative marketing in the aisles of SM Supermarket. It seems, SM was the first to introduce an ecobag, its Green Bag. Green Bag is sold for P35, "a small price to pay for the benefit of a much cleaner and safer environment." This bag can be used in lieu of plastic bags when doing the groceries but not, I think for shopping inside the department store itself or the other botiques. National Book Store launced its Reduce Earth's Destruction Bag, or simply Red Bag. The Red Bag can be availed for free after a P1000 purchase or for P65 only. However, it has "limited stocks only." Rustan's Supermarket, as far as I can remember, also launched its reusable bag which it also sold for a few pesos.

These are just some ecobag-agents that I know of.

I commend these companies who seem to have gone green and support the awareness campaign for a better, cleaner earth. However, what bothers me is how these same companies are cashing in on the same campaign that should have been part of their corporate social responsibility as part of a society.

What I would most like to see is the emergence of a universal ecobag. A bag that can be used for the supermarket, a department store or a stylish boutique. A bag that can be used in SM, Rustan's, National Book Store, Landmark and other establishments. A bag that can be used at all times and in all shops and not just in certain places. An eco-friendly, reusable bag that is of a reasonable style. A bag that when used, will offer the customer more incentives. More importantly, an ecobag that is free of charge, willingly given and used by the establishment. I am willing to concede that it may be sold, but at very reasonable prices and that proceeds of the sale of the said bag should go to a fund meant for cleaning up the earth.

Or better yet, an unhampered shopping environment where people can just bring their own, personalized canvas or cloth bag which they can use for their shopping needs. If people would rather not pay for ecobags that malls are selling, then the malls should not bar the customer for using his/her own bag.

Last time I checked, the Department of Trade and Industry was also encouraging the use of bayong for our marketing needs. This is actually a very good idea. It not only stimulates our local economy, it also helps reduce the plastic waste we churn out.

At the very best, the local and national government should lead the campaign for these universal ecobags and bayong to create awareness and encourage more people to bag the plastic and opt for more green alternatives to shopping.

We can help save the earth by saving one plastic at a time. Small gestures add up to a lot.

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