Plastic Bags by The Tangerine.
Yes I know, I’m a murderer. Strangled sea turtles. Drowned whales. Choked birds. They found death by swallowing what they thought would be their next supper – unsuspicious that it would be their last. I blindly premeditated my next prey because I fell for the plastic bad boy, and casually pointed the blame far away. It’s a doggie dog world. So we’ll blame it on the food chain: manufacturers of plastic bags, shopping malls who give them out for free, governments who have yet to pass a decree declaring their illegitimacy. Or you could blame it on me. But it was all because of him: the plastic bag. He forever muffled the sea turtle. He fed six square meters of toxicity to the whale and its’ cadaver now decays. He blocked the sea gull’s gut. He obstructed her airway and looked at her failure to swallow. Gasped for breath. Opened her beak in exaggerated motion in her last attempt to regurgitate or gag.
Plastic bags are vile. Artificial killers. They poisoned our wildlife and oceans, infested our corals, invaded our earth by creating their own continent within our Pacific ocean. They outlive us by 400 years. Made out of crude oil, they are burning through our natural resources. On earth, we’re around 7 billion, add another 7 billion rats because there is approximately one rat per person, which means we individually, the rats also getting a bag, use 71 plastic bags every year. Rats and us don’t have plastic bag bulimia. We’re just into our plastic bad boys. And they are just like potato chips — after you have one, you want to nibble on more and more until you eat the whole bag, feel sick, the birds choke, and the sea turtles die.
There are a ton of reasons why you should not fall for plastic bags. They will continue to make up 73% of beach litter, kill more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year, and poison us with the 70,000 microplastics we yearly eat on average. Regardless of their murderous tendencies, we fall for their felonies.
Plastic bad boys teach you to take risks. Life is worth living if you take a few detours from time to time, and test the waters. The greatest opportunities sometimes come to light only after taking a leap of faith. Ensure that you are making calculated risks like strangling a turtle, not reckless ones where you put your own health on the line. In 2011, Italy declared that its population was miscalculating risks, obviously strangling too many turtles, and ordered a ban on plastic bags. They were the first country in the EU to do so – e questo è tutto – not that it was met with much popularity: “We’re already taxed and harassed, and soon they’ll be charging for air.” Within the EU, everyone quickly implored to just think of the
children turtles. And France’s ban on plastic bad boys was issued in 2016. Even though the Germans didn’t enact a total ban, they have successfully reduced their consumption of plastic bags by 64% since 2015. On the other side of the pond, the U.S.A. was about to go through with a historically green power move until Corona hit. Of course, the big plastic industry wouldn’t waste a crisis, and put a temporary ban on reusable plastic bags with state specific emergency bills. Some scientists claim that the virus could remain on plastic bags for up to 8 seconds. Risk taking, they teach you about risk taking. So who’s it gonna be: dead turtles or me?
Plastic bags are great for the meantime. They won’t look for commitment, only easy one time use. No need to factor them into your future plans, your use of one averages 12 minutes of their lifetime. Plastic bags are here for a good time, not a long time. Positive points: they do last longer than brown paper bags, don’t tear, and in the meantime they are easy to store and available in bulk for less than 1 cent. Once you’ve had enough stomach aches from overeating potato chips, murdered too many seagulls and decided to move on, repurpose plastic bad boys into:
- Waterproof slipper sandals.
- Cooler, more fashionable plastic bags.
- Plan i.e. yarn made from plastic bags.
- Other: this option ranges from Adidas Parley to Target plastic tutu skirts.
My experience lies in the making of a plastic bottled skirt. When my sister and I were in middle school, my Maman pulled one of her classic Mussolina moves and ordered us to drink more water. Her rationale was: You can’t become a camel that crosses a desert. Usurping our family’s competitive spirit to her commands, she dictatorially turned my sister and I against each other into a contest of who drinks more 1 liter water bottles. Somehow she successfully directed for the water bottles to become heinous looking skirts for a Halloween eco-friendly DIY costume. Yes, we were unrecognisable ugly ballerinas. Yes, attached to this article is a photo of the occasion. No, neither of us hung out with the middle school bad boys.
Blinded by its toxicity, I didn’t want to see the way he treated me. Enthralling, predatory plastic Romeo lured me in. Slender and svelte, he was steaming, sailing with the wind. I knew. I knew he played the seagull. He played the turtle. He played the cisco. When he began toying with me, I thought it’d be different. I could be the one that changed him. But his smell lingered in my college library’s hall, while I sluggishly waited for a call. It wasn’t just a one night stand. But to him, my charismatic character was only for single use: it was for him, wasn’t for me. I cried like a baby when I saw him that one night many months later. Would never have guessed plasticity lasted that long. Even then, I couldn’t vilify him completely. His unnatural beauty still struck me. His textured fragility. His softness. He had brought out my vulnerability.
We met again. On a beach that time. Disemboweled, he lay. I picked him up. Threw him in the recyclable trash can. And bid goodbye to this old ladies man.
Plastic bags will be your muse. Used to the high, when finally governments decide they’ve got to go, your sympathies will lie with supermarket lobbyists. Like a junkie on withdrawal, misery will be your new company until it becomes monetary. Be Britney and make money: “I’m addicted to you, don’t you know that you’re toxic.” Plastic bags are not only used as Albatros choking hazards, they also inspired Moschino’s Ready to Wear Autumn 2017 collection. The IKEA frakta 99 cents tote was so in, in 2017. Already owned and loved by millions back then, many people could get the designer look for less than Balenciaga’s latest catwalk design. Remember to think creatively next time you use a plastic bad boy to pick up your furry Droolius Caesar’s poo.
Whether it be Barbie’s world or The Plastics’* from Mean Girls, the good news is we grow out of it. Life in plastic, it’s fanatic.
*In case you aren’t familiar with the Plastics from Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan – click me.
Closing note on the art. The pictures and content are all made on the computer. You know how in the movies there are green screens and they construct the crazy fantastical world around the character? That’s basically what I did /try to do. The word you might recognise it as is – CGI (computer generated image). I will probably write an article about all of this very soon.