Monday, February 4, 2008

I Am Not A Plastic Bag

Someone once said that the best way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time. If there’s an elephant in the room today, it would have to be our inclination to watch documentaries about our impact on the environment and reluctance to actually do something about it. Most of us have huge amounts of information about the issues but turning knowledge into personal action is something else. Take the plastic bag; a symbol of everyday life. Just a year ago, who could imagine coming home from the store without one? Unfortunately, the truth of this convenience is that 1% are recycled and the rest float in streams, clog up drains and float through our oceans like perpetual jellyfish. For years there have been efforts to get people to kick the plastic habit – offering alternatives, charging for plastic, etc. – but quite recently and very rapidly many have decided to do the right thing. Why? Because the reasons to change shifted from all head (why you ought to change) to heart (why you’d want to), and the results have been as contagious as the smiley face.

Today any designer or store that wants to be taken seriously is coming up with stylish, funky, crazy, cool and eccentric ideas about how to get your shopping home. To me the greatest example remains Anya Hindmarch’s tagline: “I am not a plastic bag” printed on…not a plastic bag. Personal, direct, emotional. So let’s change the elephant strategy. The best way to eat an elephant is one great emotional idea at a time.