Even that I’m greeny in philosophy and in lifestyle, I find it thrilling and annoying every time that I finish my shopping trip and the cashier is asking me “can I stick it all to one bag?” or sometimes “do you want to buy a re-usable bag?”
Honestly, are those plastic bags the major environmental problem originating from the supermarkets? I will show in this article that the answer is “Definitely not”, yet the supermarkets (and also some other organizations) are massively campaigning against those plastic bags, decepting the public opinion from the real and major environmental issues that supermarkets create.
1. Other supermarket packages have larger imprint on the environment
About 40% of each and every product that we buy, either food product or other products, is actually plastic packaging. Plastic bottles (Milk, fuzzy drinks, yogurts, milk products…), shrink plastic (cheese, meat, fish, dried food…), hard plastics packages (plastic boxes, shampoo containers, soap containers, yogurt contained products, peanut butter containers….) cans (conserved food, tin cans)…. All those packages have much bigger molecular weight than a plastic bag (each pack is about the weight of 20 to 50 plastic bags), they consume much more energy and raw materials in order to produce. A plastic bag that carries your shopping has no more than 5% impact in comparison to those other packages, as you can carry about 20 products (in average) in each plastic bag.
2. The supermarkets are promoting major environment-poisoning products
Plastic is actually NOT such a bad material: it is organic (mainly carbon based) and when sealed back into the ground, its impact is not as high as other dramatically poisoning materials that have major affect on the future of this planet: the heavy metals. Production of heavy metals is massively poisoning our water reservoirs, oceans and soil as it requires poisoning materials like arsenic to be damped someplace. When the heavy metals are damped back to the soil in the shape of old electronics, liquid “health care products”, food conservatives, etc…: nothing can make them disappear. Aluminium, Cadmium, Nickel, Radium…. Have fatal affect on animals, plants and humans and are a major environmental concern.
Another environmentally poisoning material which the supermarket distributes without any control is…. Protein. Protein is a NON NATURAL molecule produced inside the buddy of mammals and designed to be used for internal consumption and internal consumption only. NOTHING in the environment can break a protein except if it is consumed by a living organ. When milk products are dumped back to the environment (either by the dairy factory, which usually have lots of Milk washed down to the sewage and from there to the soil / rivers / ocean, or by the private household that dumps the leftovers to the sewage system) the affect on the environment is fatal.
3. The supermarkets are promoting non healthy food and nasty chemicals
This point brings me back to the starting point: as a greeny I tend to buy only healthy food. However I find it quiet hard to find healthy food in the supermarket: 99% of the supermarket products contain nasty chemicals and genetically engineered amino acids. The affect of those on the environment is not yet known, however their affect on human beings is obviously not good.
So why supermarkets are “so concerned” about the environment when it comes to plastic bags?
You must note that when you buy a supermarket product, the 40% of packaging is already reflected in the products’ price. But when you finish you shopping and ask for a carry bag, the price of it is paid by the supermarket only. The supermarket is highly motivated to LOWER this expense, since:
- Margin profit on food products is fairly low – 5% – 10% only.
- If we said that every carry bag is about 5% of the packaging, and packaging is about 40% of the average product, so the maths yourself: the supermarket is adding an expense of about 2% pay for packaging, which is eating about 0.5% from their profit!
If they really wanted to assist the environment, they could have used the technology to produce “100% compostable” carry bags from sugar canes or cannabis plants: those have zero affect on the environment, and if they really wanted – the large supermarket cooperations could have invested money and use those environmentally friendly bags.
However, a supermarket is a business, and as a business they don’t really care about the environment, but about…. leveraging and maximizing the profit.
So next time they ask you about those plastic bags, remember that the supermarket is USING your environmental awareness in order to…. keep their positive profit, and not in order to genuinely solve any environmental problem.