Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Surplus of Plastic

We've created a monster in our kitchen. It's a monster that lives under our sink, next to the garbage can and where we keep our dishwasher detergent. Every couple of days, it gets a little bigger.

I'm talking about this.

simplehuman Grocery Bag Holder, Wall-Mounted, Stainless Steel

Our plastic bag holder.

It started out innocently enough, as we stopped by a friend's apartment who extolled the virtues of the magical bag holder.

'It's so convenient,' they exclaimed, 'you always have bags when you need them and it's like $10!'

I have to admit, it all sounded so wonderful. Our apartment, no longer under siege from rampant plastic shopping bags. Our wet umbrellas, corralled at all times with a quick reach. Life would be so wonderful.

So we got the bag holder. We stuck it on our cabinet. And we began to fill it. Every shopping trip brought with it a fresh set of reinforcements. I eagerly stuffed them into the dispenser. 'More bags!' I'd declare, excitedly jamming Jewel bag after Jewel bag into the dispenser.

But the problem with a bag dispenser, is that you actually have to remove bags from the dispenser for the system to work. You can't just have deposits, you need to have withdrawals!

But we just don't have lots of uses for plastic bags. We don't have that many muddy shoes to bring home. Or dog walks to clean up after. Or people we need to suffocate.

So there were no withdrawals, and the dispenser grew. And grew. And grew.

Soon it grew too full. It's aluminum belly protruding, fat with the conquest of dozens of trips to the supermarket. It couldn't possibly take any more bags!

And so we've stopped feeding it, for now. But it still sits there with its store of bags, bursting at the seams. Part of it probably longs for relief, while another part of it yearns for more, leading it to make forceful advances on the roll of trash bags next door.

It's a problem we can't solve. We can't invent uses for these bags, and we can't throw them away.

So it will continue to sit, a reminder that tools to add convenience to our lives, sometimes just add a crap load of baggage

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