Sakura Mentor

Sending your love to the world #3: reusable bags
Ha Hoang Updated in September 2023

To encourage interest in environmental issues and raise awareness of environmental risks, Japan has charged plastic bags in all stores since 2020. For that reason, it is common to see people carry eco-friendly reusable bags when shopping at supermarkets, department stores, drug stores and convenience stores.
However, in some cases such as the plastic bags are more than 25% of biomass component, it is free of charge. In such case, do you take it or refuse?
It happened to me once when I shopped at a clothing store. Since I always carry my reusable bags, so at cashier, I told a staff that I did not need a plastic bag, and she looked at me surprisedly. She thought that I did not know that their stores offered plastic bags free of charge, so she explained to me about that. I smiled to her and unchanged my decision.
It is true that when plastic bags are free, it is rare to see someone did not take it. Certainly, people can take the plastic bags when they need, I just hope that they could reuse these bags until it got torn instead of throwing away after one-time use.
I know that for some people, it is annoying to carry reusable bags due to various reasons. Therefore, I would like to introduce the way that I carry reusable bags. Generally, when I plan to go shopping, I will bring 4-5 reusable bags. In other case, I only bring 1-2 bags. At least, if I suddenly want to buy something, I don’t need to pay for a charged plastic bag.

I have learnt a method to fold a bag into a tiny size, it can be applied for plastic bags as well. Here is the step by step instruction. You can google “triangle fold plastic bag” for more details.

Photo: Ha Hoang

With this way, it can fit into your pocket, and you can carry it easily.
As I said before, it is alright to get a plastic bag when you need it. But I hope you could reuse these bags well and reduce plastic bags consumption as much as possible. It is our responsibility to save this planet.