Monday, August 11, 2008

Ban the Bag

So I've been in school all summer taking communications classes. I took a class about communications and public policy that I have just loved. It started at the beginning of July and it ends this Wednesday. During the class, we read a book called Getting to Yes and it talked all about how to have a successful negotiation. Like most people, all I knew about negotiations was what I had seen on the "Conflict Resolution" episode of The Office, where Oscar hates a poster that Angela has hanging up and wants her to take it down. Angela doesn't want to take it down so Michael mediates the negotiation and makes Oscar take the poster and turn it into a shirt and wear it so that he never sees the poster and Angela can still see it.

Well, my professor had us learn the fine tunings of negotiating and split us up into teams and gave us an issue. The issue dealt with a small beach side community in California called Shopperville. The group of students I was part of was a coalition called "Ban the Bag" and wanted the City of Shopperville ban plastic bags. The other group of students was the city council of Shopperville and they were worried that if we put a ban on plastic bags that the two big grocery stores in the community would leave to the City of Buyerville that was just down the coast. It was nerdy and fun at the same time. It was fun to come to an agreement with the other group of students and work together to find the best possible solution.

The interesting thing is, though, that I found myself becoming more aware of how I use plastic bags and how bad both plastic and paper bags are for the environment. I think I'll start using reusable bags. They're only about 99 cents per bag and it's an easy step that I can take to make a difference. My group is presenting our findings of the negotiation to the class this Wednesday and a kid in my class bought a reusable bag to give to each of our classmates during our presentation. I couldn't help but laugh when he told me about buying the bags. He walked up to the cashier at Albertson's and said, "I'd like 16 reusable bags, please." She smiled, rang up the bags, took his money and asked, "Paper or plastic?"

Anyway, here is a commercial that I found that we're going to use during our presentation. It brings up a lot of facts that we brought up to the town council during our negotiation. Plus, it's just a cool, clever advertisement. Kind of fishy, though.


B said...

Great post!
believes the same. Plastic and paper bags are just not worth the "convenience" anymore. I hope your ideals spread throughout your peers.


Michemily said...

In Germany, it's very well-accepted to use re-useable bags. Even for garbage! They dump it in the main garbage can and put the bag back in the can inside the house. I like to carry my bags and they have personality.