Monday, July 2, 2012

Joy of Giving - Card 34

Ever since I began the Joy of Giving exercise way back in September 2011, strangely and coincidentally, the cards picked out for the week, almost always reflect a thought in my mind, or offer me a way ahead for something I've been struggling with. It is strange because the cards are picked out at random, by my children.

The Joy of Giving card for this week is For Our World.

The reason why this card is important is because I have been wondering how I can help those shopkeepers who cannot afford paper bags in place of the villainous plastic bag. 

I am strictly against using plastic bags for any reason whatsoever. Here's why. To the extent that I actually 'return' plastic bags given to me by well meaning storekeepers. 

I believe that the first step to reducing plastic consumption is to say NO to it at every level, even when it comes to lining your garbage bins.

Pune Municipal Corporation banned the plastic bag in January 2010 and it gets my goat when I see people taking one from their neighbourhood kirana store for 2 biscuit packets! Why can't they just put it in their purses or backpacks instead of taking a plastic bag? Why can't they just bring their own bag?

So I've become the neighbourhood meanie. When I see someone asking for a plastic bag, I ask the shop keeper really loud, "Are you still giving plastic bags? Isn't it banned?"

Most often storekeepers are stunned and sheepishly reply, "Kya karen madam... Logon ko chahiye rehta hai.... What do we do Madam? People need it..."

To which I usually say, "If it is banned you cannot give it. Corporation has imposed a penalty of Rs 15,000 on shopkeepers who do it..."

Sometimes shopkeepers say, "We charge them money Madam...." and ask the customer for a rupee for the small sized bag (this practice has the approval of the Ministry of Environment and Forests). Often when they have to "pay" customers walk away without one, miraculously finding place in their bags for their goodies...

I also find brown paper bags a complete monstrosity. What is the point of doling out paper bags that are also cause of environmental degradation (cutting down trees???) 

However, I make small concessions for bags made out of newspaper because they are recycled and (usually) made by the underprivileged who earn some money making them. The only problem is that buying these bags costs the shopkeepers more money than plastic bags so most don't keep them.

To honour the Joy of Giving Card 34, I have decided to make 50 paper bags and give it to the shop keepers in my area who cannot afford to buy them - the cobbler for example.

Wish me luck my friends and join in too!

Join in the journey. Here's how! 

Go to the page titled Joy Of Giving where I have posted all the cards selected so far. Those of you who'd like to start this exercise from the beginning, just follow the cards in the order they are posted!


To join the Joy of Giving right away just follow the cards every week as they are posted on the blog.

Please REMEMBER to post your experiences in a public forum - your own blog, note on FaceBook - or leave your story in the comment section of this blog. Do remember to tag me in your posts...

To know how it started click here.

To track the Joy of Giving through the past thirty three weeks, click here

DO spread the message of this unique movement. Encourage your friends to start following the cards and spreading joy...

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