• Ethical Edition

Sustainability Sunday #15



Everybody has one, whether it be under the kitchen sink (like ours), under the stairs or in a utility room in one of those neat tubes with the holes, there’s a pile of scrunched up plastic in everyone’s house.

It’s been 6 months since the 5p carrier bag charge came in, but how’s it working out? Here’s some unforgiving facts:

  1. + Bag use has dropped by 75-80% in supermarkets 

Shoppers’ reluctance to pay an extra 5p is a classic example of British stinginess, but in this instance, it’s a positive. The threat of having to fork out an extra 5 – 50p has encouraged an enormous number of shoppers to go prepared with bags for life and cotton carriers. Well done everyone.

  1.  – Those that still purchase carrier bags on every shop are just lazy

Some can’t be bothered to carry an armful of shopping, some can’t be bothered to carry a shopping bag with them, some haven’t prepared for needing to shop that day and some just haven’t changed their shopping habits. This 5p bag charge is on a par with being charged an extra 50p to use your card in a corner shop but people still do that don’t they? We’ve all just got to be more organised.

  1.  – Men are worse, sorry not sorry

This is a pretty sexist comment, but I imagine that significant proportion of the male population either don’t own or want to be seen with a cute cotton shopper bag, but kudos to for introducing the men’s tote.

  1.  – It’s turned some people into shoplifters

Within weeks of this new law coming in, I saw with my own two eyes someone walking out of a Sainsburys Local with a basket. What was he thinking?! What’s he going to do with that when he get’s it home? That’s harder to deal with than an overflowing carrier bag stash. Some shops have also reported that shoplifting has gone up, with people sneaking things into their ‘bags for life’ or just helping themselves to a bag for life (which incidentally you can exchange for a free new one when they wear out – so worth that pound).

  1. + Carbon savings!

Less plastic in landfill and lower demand for plastic bag manufacture should result in £13 million carbon savings.

  1. + Charities are gaining

In the information release that coupled the deployment of the carrier bag charge the Government state that up to £730 million will be raised for good causes. In a society where it’s only really the elderly or social panickers that succumb to signing up to charity donations on the street, this enables us to indirectly donate to charity, so buying the odd one or two maybe isn’t so bad.

bag for life.JPG
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