‘Embarrassing’ Plastic Bags Will Make You Never Forget to Bring Your Own

'Embarrassing’ Plastic Bags Will Make You Never Forget to Bring Your Own

“Embarrassing” plastic bags have been designed to help you remember to bring your reusable tote.

It’s not a secret that the world is currently in the midst of a plastic-related crisis. Single-use plastic is in our food, our oceans, our rivers, it’s everywhere — because it doesn’t completely biodegrade. Possibly ever.

One way of fighting plastic pollution is to recycle all the plastic that already exists. Many brands are pulling the material out of the sea and the beaches — where it is a serious hazard to marine life — and making it into shoes, clothes, car accessories, and even a stage at Glastonbury music festival.

Another way of fighting the crisis is to stop using even more single-use plastic to be thrown away. One Vancouver supermarket has opted for a unique tactic to encourage customers to ditch plastic bags: embarrassment.

East West Market’s limited-edition $5 plastic bags each now have embarrassing slogans on the side, in the hope that customers will be so humiliated on their walk home, they’ll remember their reusable bag next time. Examples of the slogans include “Into The Weird Adult Video Emporium,” “The Colon Care Co-Op,” and “Wart Ointment Wholesale.”

A Plastic Joke or a Serious Campaign?

The owner of East West Market David Lee Kwen says that despite the humorous tone of the new initiative, the underlying message is serious. “The message is, we should make a conscious effort to save our planet one step at a time. [Plastic bags] are a big problem, and every step helps,” he said in a statement.

Some customers have bought the bags to show their friends, Kwen explained, but most are taking on board the message. “It’s certainly generated interest in what we’re trying to put out,” he said. “Once you start a conversation, it will skyrocket from there, I think.”

Changes are being implemented across Canada to reduce the amount of plastic in the country. According to National Geographic, earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the country will aim to ban single-use plastics — including bags, straws, plates, cutlery, and stirrers — by 2021.

The Prime Minister said in a statement, “to be honest, as a dad it is tough trying to explain this to my kids. How do you explain dead whales washing up on beaches across the world, their stomachs jam-packed with plastic bags?”