I stumbled upon this greatly thought-provoking video on the longevity of plastic shopping bags (“rubbers”), pollution and environmental impacts. The video, aptly titled Plastic Bag, is a short biography; for 18 minutes, viewers see plastic bags from their own perspective, and we follow one’s journey from its first use (just after conception) to…well, not death, because most plastic bags like this one aren’t biodegradable. The video episode is one of a number produced by FutureStates, a television “series of independent mini-features [that] explores possible future scenarios through the prism of today’s global realities.”
My takeaway: the durability and longevity of plastic bags (given it takes about 500 to 1000 years for one to disintegrate) can be its greatest curse. It can even outweigh its convenience; it’s a compelling moment when the plastic bag itself says it would like to tell its maker, “I wish you had created me so that I could die.”
Because after its one, two or even a few uses, what’s the likely fate of a plastic bag? We may not think about them again, but that certainly doesn’t mean they just go away.