Posted on December 09, 2004 06:00 AM
It's definitely obvious when you come here that everything you see is disposable. From the fashion to moon cakes packaging, everything finds its way into the trash bin; or in most people's cases, the back of the cupboard.
One aspect of HK culture that I find fascinating is the reuse of shopping bags. Everywhere you go you get a shopping bag, my collection fills a whole cupboard in the kitchen. Mind you it's not the typical plastic bags you get from the grocery store, it's all the different sized bags you get from the department store, the Sony store, Aveda store, and all the variety of stores you can shop at here in CWB. What I find myself doing these days instead of using my backpack or my recent y purchased bag from Shenzhen is reusing these shopping bags. I'm not alone. You go on the MTR, the tram, or the bus and you see many people reusing their various bags. In some way it almost gives you a glimpse of people's buying habits here...or at least the types of stores they frequent. There are days where I wonder what was the original item purchased to get this or that type of bag. I start to daydream about a tai tai's fancy shopping spree at the local Lane Crawford or the high school student's trek to the CWB Plaza for the latest in this winter's fashion accessory using what would have been one week's worth of lunch money.
The most seen bag near my neighborhood has to be the large Sogo bags. These days I use one of my Aveda bags. It's practical and keeps me looking local. I usually walk around with a travel bag with my gym clothes and now I'm thinking I should just reuse one of the other shopping bags. I guess I'm not ready to give in fully yet.
The only thing frustrating about these bags is that their lifespan is not long especially if it gets wet. So on dry days I use the paper bags and probably on the rainy days I'll use the mound of plastic bags I have from the grocery store. Also if you overstuff the bags, the handles break or they tear easily. I recall one time seeing someone on the street just put two bags together just to reinforce its carrying potential. I guess it didn't take too long for me to pick up another local habit.
Speaking of packaging and bags. I can't wait to share my Ikea handles collection. Since not too many people have cars here the Ikea here has a bagging/packing your packages area after you pay for your items. Here you can tie up your goods, wrap the glassware in paper, and put these handles on large items that are difficult to hold or put them in large bags. With our treks to Ikea, we've amassed quite a collection of handles.