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  • Saturday, February 11, 2006


    Paper or Plastic?

    When I checked out at the local Whole Foods supermarket tonight, I was given 20 cents off my bill because I had brought 4 cloth bags in (5 cents credit per bag). I'm always amused by this. It seems so small and symbolic I wonder if anyone actually changes their habits because of this incentive.

    However I was reminded of the summer of 1979 when I was travelling student-cheap through Europe. At that time, when you checked out in food markets, you were charged 10 cents for each bag used for your groceries. If you brought your own bags, then no charge. While this may seem like almost the same thing, it's not. The end result is the same: money off your total for bringing bags, but the philosophy is different. In Europe it was essentially a tax on wasteful consumption. If you use resources (bags), you have to pay for them.

    I find this example illustrative of American consumerism and business practices. Doncha think so?

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