Adam Murie -
Plastic Bag

In many ways the plastic bag is a beautiful thing. The improvements in design over generations have increased strength, reduced the use of raw materials, found efficiencies in production and hit new levels of longevity.


These days plastic bags are so hardy they’ll last for a thousand years. If you took a modern-day plastic bag back in time and gave it to someone they would be impressed by the technology, treasure it and use it hundreds of times. But today they are cheap, almost zero value, single-use and hence people throw them away. But in the future…


It’s the year 2030, The Greens have ousted the Plibersek government, and the price of a plastic bag has been raised to fifty dollars. I’m at the end of St Kilda pier near the penguins and the wind catches a fisherman’s plastic bag carrying it into the water nearby. ‘Awesome!’ I wade in and grab it then start running. Behind me I hear him cry out. “Hey, somebody stop him. That guy’s got my bag.”


I get away and when I arrive home the bag gets washed in the sink, I go out to the balcony to shake off most of the water then hang it up over the back of a chair to dry. I inspect it carefully; no holes, a brand-spanker, it’s beautiful, one of the old supermarket ones from before the ban.


I’m going to use it at least a hundred times. It’s now just as rare to see the wind blowing a plastic bag down the street as is to find a plastic fifty-dollar note.