Monday, February 21, 2011
By Kyle Constalie
To whoever is reading this: I am pooping my pants.
That’s because I recently watched Bag It, a documentary directed by Suzan Beraza. I watched this film with my girlfriend at the Frozen Rivers Film Festival in Winona, Minnesota. A nice afternoon, for sure—albeit the wrong place and the wrong person to be with when you’re pooping your pants. But I couldn’t help myself; the content of this film scared the shit out of me.
Apparently—and I am not making this up, as it’s in quotations—“the average American produces about 4.4 lbs. of garbage every day. That’s 29 lbs. per week or 1,600 lbs. per year.” These statistics come from the Environmental Protection Agency, who happen to have been counting every Good ‘n’ Plenty container I have ever thrown away in my entire life—and I have had plenty.
Did you know that the amount of trash we Americans produce in a single year could cover the entire state of Texas two and a half times? While there is absolutely no doubt that covering Texas twice would be the best use of this trash, it would be much easier for lazy people like me to avoid generating so much trash in the first place. This trash reduction can be accomplished by doing things like 1) growing your own vegetables, most of which do not sprout out of the ground with packaging on them; 2) buying less things in general, because you can’t package what you don’t have; and 3) (most importantly) never, ever, under any circumstances, purchasing bottled water or using plastic bags in stores.
So? What’s wrong with plastic? you might be asking yourself. My friend, prepare to poop.
Plastic does not biodegrade—at least not for a very, very long time. Most plastic makes its way out into the ocean where it a) accumulates and/or b) gets consumed by marine life. This means our planet is like a kid who needs to pick up his room but is running out of closet space because he got everything he wanted for his birthday even though he didn’t really need it, and his pet hamster eats what’s on the floor and dies.
Plastic bags can basically survive forever, like cockroaches, except there is no exterminator for plastic bags. In other words—and you can quote me on this because it is scientific fact—using plastic bags is exactly the same as using cockroaches to carry your groceries. And, like cockroaches, plastic bags become most active late at night while you are sleeping. They scurry about your kitchen floor, making sick rustling sounds to each other that translate roughly to let’s take over the world and kill everyone except the roaches. Their plan, of course, is to suffocate our planet in much the same way you might see a plastic bag used to suffocate a helpless victim in a horror film.
Suffocation is a grave prospect indeed, and I think it’s one that Bag It really missed an opportunity to exploit. The movie talked about plastic floating in the ocean, but in all honesty that just seems like a bathtub with lots of durable toys. Killer Plastic Bags would be far more distressing to audiences, who would surely walk away from the movie with a greater incentive to start acting less trashy—just as soon as they buy new underwear.