Friday, 30 September 2011

Carrier Bags

The second item on the news today that made my ears prick up was the fact that shops in Wales are going to start charging for carrier bags.  Well done.
I confess I am guilty of using easily available carrier bags at the supermarket check-out in the past.  But I have reformed my ways and have been using reusable shopping bags for ages.
I can always remember my mum having shopping holdalls which she took out to the shops with her.  And a shopping trolley when she wanted to get lots of things.  In those days we didn't go shopping in the car, we never had a car - we didn't need a car.
I now carry three or four shopping bags with me in my car, maybe more sometimes if I know I am going to get lots of shopping.  Very occasionally I might not take enough and have to use a carrier bag, but not often.
I was quite amused by the news broadcast.  The charge for bags is going to be 5p.  One person being interviewed thought this was far too high, the bags surely didn't cost that much to make.  I wanted to tell him - that's the point.  It's not about making money out of them, it's about pricing them to the extent people will not want to use them!  Hopefully the shops will also offer reusable bags at 10p which people might be prepared to buy and REUSE.
It's not just the fact that the world is groaning under the pressure of plastic bags, but they also use up valuable resources.  Is there anything else we so willingly make and then simply throw away?  Many supermarkets have managed to reduce their use of carrier bags by encouraging customers to reuse their own bags.  It would be interesting to know how much this has saved in running costs over the last few years.  Even if a bag only costs a penny to produce, or even a fraction of a penny, when hundreds of thousands are used every year, that soon adds up to a lot of pennies.

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