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Those plastic bags again!


Posted At: 06 May 2008 10:37 AM
Related Categories: Environmental


The problem is not using plastics bags, it’s throwing them away!

Plastic bag usage is a bandwagon that everyone is keen to be seen riding, the government included. As ever, with the internet at our fingertips, it is possible to prove both the “truth” of the danger of plastic bags and that the headlines about environmental damage caused by plastic bags are works of fiction.

Rather than penalising people for a genuine need, perhaps we should instead be getting people to think first. Increasingly shop staff ask, “Do you want a bag for that?” – and it gives you the opportunity to think, actually, no I don’t.

And why, in any case, should we have to pay to advertise a particular retailer – they should be paying us! – particularly when you can buy other goods – your underwear for example – and not have to pay extra to transport your latest purchases home.

There will always be a genuine need for some sort of carrier bag and it will need a major re-education to get people to provide and carry around their own bags

The best way to get people to reuse their plastic bags is not to hit them in the wallet (quite frankly, anyone who can afford to buy their groceries in M&S, can afford a few extra 5ps too), but to hit their image. When taking a new carrier bag at the checkout, or indeed answering “yes, actually I do” in Boots, is seen as comparably irresponsible to smoking in public areas, progress will have been made. Want to be seen as socially responsible, morally aware and at one with the environment? Carry a wicker shopping basket!

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As a consumer, I have to say that my own personal bugbear with the issue is that these ridiculous 'fixes' are being forced upon us with little consideration for actual consequences. Yes, I agree that everyone needs to do their bit for the environment but it does niggle when such a large emphasis is being put on what is, essentially, a very small problem. Bag For Life? Great idea, however, removing plastic bags completely leaves the casual shopper with a bit of a problem; do I want to carry around a massive straw bag just in case I might want to go shopping in my lunch hour? No. I'm much more likely to redirect my lunchtime shopping trip to a place which will give me something to carry my goods in! Why don't the supermarkets consider an alternative, such as paper bags made from recycled paper? And more to the point, why don't the government stand up and take some proper measures rather than wasting time on eliminating things which will take years to make any difference (if they do so at all)

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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