Thailand is the latest country to ban single-use plastic bags, and at the same time, it’s showing what a creative nation it is. Since the ban went into effect on Jan 1, 2020, Thai shoppers have been using all sorts of weird and wonderful things to carry their groceries in, from rolling luggage to baby baths.
The country’s plastic bag ban started with a campaign to reduce plastic-bag use in 2019, and the initiative was spurred by sad events, Reuters reported: several animals, including a deer and a baby dugong, a marine mammal, were found dead with plastic inside their digestive systems.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used each year. If they’re not disposed of properly, they can clog waterways, provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying malaria and kill marine life.
The ban on plastic bags at major retailers in Thailand began on Jan. 1, and not long after, Thais on social media had made a game of sorts out of using unusual items to carry things home after shopping, NBC reported.
One shopper used a traffic cone to carry her goods. Instagram user @hyunin.s posed with a traffic cone full of snacks:
Baskets are a more obvious choice, and all shapes and sizes are being taken on trips to the store, like this style with a cross-body strap from Instagram account chalom_baskets. This one looks practical!
Facebook user ROV ไหมละ is collecting tons of photos of Thais out shopping post-ban, from people using hilariously creative options (like a wheelbarrow, and quite a few giant sugar bags, which appear to be popular) to shoppers proudly showing off their bag and smiling for the camera:
Thailand isn’t the only country to ban plastic bags: 127 countries had regulated single-use plastic bag use as of 2018, and other countries have banned them in the meantime, including New Zealand and Indonesia, which just banned the bags in markets and shopping malls in Jakarta.
Another place to start the new year off to an eco-conscious start with a ban on plastic bags was Mexico City. Officials there hope this will revive traditional, reusable ways of packaging and transporting goods, such as cloth wrappings and paper cones. “We have a very rich history in ways to wrap things,” Claudia Hernández, the city’s director of environmental awareness, told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Thais keep having fun with their ban on social media.
Buckets may be made of plastic, but reusing an old one you already have at home is arguably far better for the environment than single-use reusable bags, as shown by @pangancientshopp on Instagram.
Instagram user @curly.rabia shows that even a baby bath has more than one use:
But it’s not only containers that the people of Thailand are taking to the store with them. All manner of household items can be reused for other errands, such as the combination of a broom handle and clothes hangers. Take inspiration from Instagrammer @bhip_lookmoo.
We love the sense of humor people have brought to the ban in Thailand. We can’t wait to see how you carry groceries next!