For ages we have been told to take along our own shopping bags so that we do not need to get more carry bags from the mall or store. Nowadays grocery stores and malls offer eco-friendly bags made from jute or fabric, at a price of course. But if we take a country like India, a lot of people buy from road side vendors…eggs, veggies, fruits, fish and meat. It seems that most of the illegal supply of plastic carry bags of lesser microns comes from this road side sale and purchase. No matter how strict the ban enforced by local self governments, vendors will continue to smuggle out these plastic carry bags for they need to live. The question is who is really at fault, the “shopless” vendor who is trying to make a living or the shopper who buys from him. When buying things like fresh fish and meat it makes no sense to take along an eco-friendly carry bag as neither cloth nor jute can keep in the liquids that ooze out from the melting ice used to keep the fish/meat fresh. Again the solution is endemic to India, where we have the biggest success story of the Dabbawallahs of Mumbai.
The average (and above average) Indian has no qualms about carrying a steel “tiffin” carrier for his lunch. In fact the range of steel lunch boxes that one can see in India is astounding, ranging from the simple single room round container to the towers of boxes, one stacked above the other, each with a different curry, even the fried delicate pappadams. The point is that if there is no thought involved in carrying a tiffin box to office, why not carry along a steel container while buying fresh fish/meat from a street vendor ?
The advantages of a steel container are countless. For one they can be used “n” number of times, for generations to come as well. Being made of steel, they can easily be washed to a sparkle and can be disinfected by immersing in boiling water if needed. Many of them are water tight and have no risk of spills. Again in case they are dropped, there is nothing to break. Finally if a need arises to discard it, hey presto, you get good scrap value for it and it goes safely for recycling to make new vessels, no energy or material lost.