Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Eco Friendly Travel Habit Gone Wrong

Eco-friendly travel has become an essential part of travel these days. Travellers are encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint by travelling by bus or train rather than airplane, choose environment friendly accommodation, etc.

Whenever I travel, I tend to be extra careful not to leave a carbon footprint as huge as Bigfoot's, hahaha. Just kidding.

One eco-friendly habit I practise is to refuse plastic bags whenever I purchase anything. This habit has become a way of life for me. Whenever I travel, I usually bring along a knapsack big enough for a guidebook, water bottle, travel documents and of course sufficient space to put newly bought items like small souvenirs and snacks. So I don't need to use plastic bags at all.

However this habit of mine sort of backfired during a visit to The Cotswolds in September 2009.

I was on a day-trip around the The Cotswolds and we stopped for lunch at The Queen's Head in Stow-on-the-Wold.

Facade of The Queen's Head. I didn't snap any pics inside because I was too fascinated with its unique interior. 


I chose macaroni and cheese because it was the cheapest item on the menu at GBP 7.50, hahaha.

After lunch, the tour guide gave us some time to explore the little town. I took the opportunity to drop by the souvenir shop (can't remember the name) beside The Queen's Head to get a souvenir.

Fridge magnets are probably one of the cheapest souvenirs you could buy as a memento of the places you've visited. So a fridge magnet I went a looking and found a cute one that resembled the quaint houses that The Costwolds is famous for.

Fridge magnets are probably one of the cheapest souvenirs. This one costs only GBP 1.25.

Since the magnet is small enough to put into my bag, I politely told the lady cashier that I don't need a plastic bag for it.

She asked me again for confirmation and I repeated what I said. I could tell from the expression on her face that she was annoyed at my request. She probably thought I was being rude, or am a weirdo for not wanting a plastic bag. I didn't wait around for her to say something sarcastic, so I quickly paid for the magnet, placed it into my bag and left the shop.

Looking back, I felt that the situation would have turned out more positively if I had told the cashier the reason I didn't want a plastic bag. Communication process gone wrong here. And what an utter shame especially since I'm working in the communications line.

In conclusion, I think all cashiers should be trained to ask the customer whether they need a plastic bag or not. This is especially important if the item purchased is something small like a fridge magnet.

Nevertheless, that incident at the souvenir shop in Stow-on-the-Wold will not deter me from continuing my habit of being an eco friendly person in my daily life and whenever I travel.


JIPP said...

great. The concept of being eco-friendly is not really widely accepted yet even in first world countries. A friend of mine had to go through a lot of confrontations from the customers when the warehouse that she was working in stopped giving out plastic bags.

Julie Lim said...

In my case the seller (cashier) wanted to give out paper bags to an unwilling customer (me!), whilst in your friend's case, the customers demanded paper bags from an unwilling seller (warehouse). Just goes to show that it's hard to please everyone. I think it would take a long time for people to adopt an environment friendly lifestyle, but we must start somewhere.

juphelia said...

I try as much as possible not to take any paper or plastic bags too whenever I purchase anything. As much as possible, I would rather keep the item in my own bag, of if I have already gone shopping and bought items too big to put into my bag, I would squeeze as many items as possible into as few bags as possible to save space and save the usage of bags.

I think that is a good habit to adopt!

Julie Lim said...


Yeah I have that habit too! It is not only a good eco friendly habit to have, but it also saves the hassle of having to carry too many plastic bags which is troublesome.

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