Sometime last week, I had to pick up something at our friendly local pharmacy. Almost everywhere I shop other than supermarkets, people know I prefer not to take a plastic bag if I can avoid it. So I prepared to put in my pocket the “puppy aspirin” I had just bought (can’t bring myself to tell that story just yet), the smiling little man behind the counter proudly waved a paper bag, something I’d never seen before!

Then, at the farmacia in Tienda Inglesa, the same thing, again first paper bag I’ve ever seen there.

paper bag from pharmacy, Uruguay

I was reminded of the early 80s in the US, and the supermarket checkout question: paper or plastic?

Was it the same in Uruguay? Did there used to be paper bags for groceries?

Because here’s a strange thing: Plastic bags are made from oil. Uruguay has no oil. Paper bags are made from trees. Uruguay has not only an abundance of trees; it also has pulp mills.

So why are plastic bags ubiquitous in Uruguay “Natural?”


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