9/15/2013
Alone in the new pollution

So, yes, I was out of the blogging loop for two weeks. Two weeks! I had ideas but I didn't write them down, and then work overtook me and I had to focus on that.

The last work week was pretty hectic. I had an exhibit booth to oversee on Thursday and Friday, but the day before that, I had an event - an event all to myself, an event all by myself! Well, not exactly, since I did have the office to back me up, but the logistics and the loot bags, all mine.

Granted, I did have six months to prepare for it. I had six months to reserve the ballroom, choose the menu, specify the particulars, and hope that the food would fit the increasing number of attendees. We expected 150. We got 183 confirmed by Tuesday night. 126 ultimately attended on Wednesday afternoon, which meant we had ordered extra food for 50, which meant a happy office. Free lunch for them, I mean. Me, I was a bit relieved and exasperated at the same time. All the food! All the unused burned CDs! All the loot bags I brought out of the stock room!

Ah, the loot bags. That's one thing I was very much prepared for. The contents depended on how many would attend. The loot bags were always there. I had 800 of them, so I could use them for multiple exhibits, although I don't end up really using them because, really, if you're going to an exhibit, would you like bringing ten eco bags each containing just one brochure?

I mean, sure, those bags are the giveaways in themselves. It can feel like a cop-out, but they are still giveaways. Immensely useful giveaways. I live in Cavite and I shop in Muntinlupa, and that city's the first to implement a plastic ban. Lugging your groceries around in a paper bag is only fun for the first few weeks, when you feel like an American on those old television shows; having to hug these bags as you go to your car, or worse, take public transportation, just doesn't feel safe.

And now that almost every city, at least here in Metro Manila, has implemented some sort of plastic ban, these loot bags, err, eco bags, make so much more sense. That also explains why everybody is suddenly offering eco bag printings to companies (hello, Meg) and why I have 800 of them parked in a stock room somewhere in Ortigas.

250 of those went to my second event, a conference, that Thursday and Friday thing where I also had an exhibit booth, held at the same hotel as the Wednesday event I worked on myself. No, I didn't get any rest, because I was supposed to just sit in the booth giving brochures to potential customers (and, also, battle their attempts to mooch giveaways off me, and anyone who does these things know that there will always be a "reporter" or a "credit card agent" who only wants a free pen) and instead I ended up also doing a bit of AV work.

But those loot bags went to good use, and I oddly even got one of them back, and if I had my way, I'd recycle them for a future event. Because they're recyclable, right?

You have 250 of my loot bags - and 500 other loot bags - coming out of one function room at a posh hotel, filled to the brim with laptop sleeves with old company logos and almost-expired sandwich spread ("great for dishes like bread and sandwiches" - it really said that) and lots of ballpens, then you inevitably think about what happens to all of them. That's 250 bags in one event. Many of these events happen in a month. At home, we have a stash of these eco bags, some used occasionally, some not at all.

I'm pretty sure we'll reach a time when Metro Manila is polluted, not with plastic bags. but with eco bags, these reusable things that are nonetheless made of synthetic material. Everybody just makes them. You know, like tarpaulins. They're more durable than cloth streamers (now that's a throwback) but they just little the streets with it now, finding their way to the slums, in tricycles and in drinking tables, while every streetlight and overpass post unwillingly gets plastered with Anne Curtis' face. (And, well, body. She's supposedly a 36-24-36, right?)

So we'll have all these eco bags pollute Metro Manila, soggy on sidewalks, blocking drainage, causing floods, staying so long to the point that we'll have to burn them all just to dispose them, releasing all these fumes and making things much worse.

Honestly, I could do something about it. I'm the guy in charge of what giveaways get made and given away during these exhibits. I could just stop giving these bags away.

But then again, I have to, because everybody has to.

And your responses...

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