Bye bye life bag, hello baguette scabbard

Are bags for life?
Are bags for life?

By Phil Weir

The recent eradication of single-use plastic bags in our supermarkets and shops and their replacement by Bags for Life has been embraced by most customers, with the grumblers in the minority.

However, there’s no denying the fact that most of the supposedly more durable bags we are now relying on are also made of plastic, so they can’t be helping the planet much either, both in their creation and when they’re clapped-out and they eventually go out with the rubbish themselves.

I reckon – and call me a radical if you want – that we must carry this eco drive through to its natural conclusion. We must get rid of plastic bags in their entirety.

And I’ve already seen some of my fellow shoppers blazing a trail down this path.

There they are, of an evening at the supermarket, staggering away with faltering poise from the automatic check-out, with several purchases arrayed about their person – perhaps they have a can of soup in each pocket, and six large oranges, a box of washing powder, a loaf and two bottles of wine gathered precariously in their arms.

Now you may say, somewhat harshly, that this breakaway shopper species is displaying this behaviour because they are completely, positively, utterly unwilling to part with a bawbee to buy a Bag for Life. But you’d be wrong.

I know, deep down, they are, with their bold actions, taking a strong moral stance against all plastic bags. We should follow their lead. But let’s get a bit more organised.

We could, of course, all sign up for grocery balancing and deportment classes, to learn how to carry as much food as possible in our hands, on our heads, on the toe-caps of our boots and on the ledge of our Kim Kardashian-sized buttocks, but I suggest there is a better route to go down – and it offers a glorious opportunity for further recycling.

I reckon we should all manufacture special outfits that we clamber into for shopping outings.

Now, at core, these garments should be conventional and comfortable to wear – trousers, shirts, skirts, jerseys, jackets, etc. My big concept is to customise them by attaching multiple other pockets, these extra storage slots being cannibalised from old clothing of one’s own, or from garments purchased from charity shops.

For example, long pockets, stitched to the side of your trousers, perhaps fashioned out of shirt sleeves with superglued cuffs, could serve as baguette scabbards; smaller pockets dangling from the belt – old socks, say – could be suitable as holsters for toilet ducks, whole salamis, etc; an attached pair of underpants could snugly hold a melon or a pumpkin; an old pair of trousers split in two, then stapled shut at the ankles and riveted to either side of your own strides, would be ideal for an assortment of consumables; pillow cases stitched to the back of a jacket might easily carry a copious amount of fruit and veg; and eggs could be positioned on a suitably adapted hat rim.

And let’s not stop there!

Supermarket trolleys? An obscene waste of metal!

Build your own giant shopping bogey at home out of driftwood and antique pram wheels (add old fence palings as sled blades for winter shopping excursions).

Lash the lot together with unravellings from old string vests.

Get to it! Now!