In Praise of Plastic Bags

Sacs PlastiquesA really long time ago (well, you can see from the item above it was 1997), I spotted this entrancing poster in St Savin in France and desperately desired some copies of it. Look at all the shapes and sizes of bags gathered here.  I simply had to have it. We tracked down the exposition but alas it was Mardi and fermi. But the kind owner invited us in for coffee and showed us the sacs plastiques and gave us lots of posters. (There was a wondrous cave of plastic bags of every possible configuation but I loved the poster the most.)

So I salute this long-ago exhibition of the wonders of the throwaway plastic bag. It seems to me that the aim of packaging is to stop you in your tracks from throwing it away and instead make you place it in your Cabinet of Curiosities, preserved for posterity.

Here are some more pieces of packaging that were too exciting to be thrown away:

amarettiThis amaretti packet was the inspiration for the cover of The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon. baking powderA never-ending recursion of tins decorate this baking powder.boy pateI don’t know what lies within this tin – it could be a sort of pâté of little boy. FlanThis FLAN is promising dinner party quality elegance with a hint of flamenco..

ploppThe very jolly PLOPP bar packet, and its friend, the DING DONG.ding dongFollowed by the reassuring tin for Sure Shield Laxatives.sure shield

This PUDING sounds delicious, especially in čokoládový flavour.

pudingThese always seem too beautiful to ever throw away.treacleAnd this is the piece of packaging that started off the story of Hermelin.Cheese Box

So now there is a Plastic Bag Tax, which is mildly inconvenient and some might say futile (in terms of the scale of waste plastic altogether) – but it does show the surprising effectiveness of a smallish tax-based nudge to change behaviour. ….hmmm – what to change next…?

 

PS: Thanks to Whit & Caroline for Plopp, Ding Dong & Boy Pâté.

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