My new policy is this: I will no longer leave 7-Eleven with more than one plastic bag. Sure, I could do zero, and when feasible I will.
But consider a trip I made this morning. I bought:
- 4 cans of Coke Zero
- 1 loaf of bread
- 1 microwaveable meal of ผัดกะเพรา
- 2 hot dogs
I wouldn't be surprised if 7-Eleven is the single worst offender in plastic trash-generation in Thailand. There are 5000 branches nationwide, and they always give you at least one bag, unless you specifically tell them not to. They put your bottle of water or pack of gum in a plastic bag.
If we conservatively estimate that 7-Eleven averages a transaction per minute, times 24 hours, that's 1,440 per day per location, or more than 7,000,000 (!) transactions nationwide per day. Even at only one plastic bag per transaction, we're talking 2.5+ billion plastic bags a year from 7-Eleven. And my single transaction would have received five plastic bags!
Is my math totally off, or does this all sound scarily feasible?
I always try to reuse plastic bags. But often it's only to put some other article of trash in and then throw it away. No two ways about it--their ultimate destination is always the trash bin.
So here's me doing my (admittedly minuscule) part to help out Thailand's terrible trash situation.
It would be really amazing to see 7-Eleven (or another store) show some corporate responsibility and start a campaign to reduce their own trash production. It would be an example for every other shop and street vendor who hand out plastic bags willy-nilly.
Next I need to follow Dan's example and start picking up trash in my neighborhood, too. It's simply not enough that I personally never litter.