Time To Bin The Plastic

Time To Bin The Plastic

Published at 6:57pm 11th January 2018. (Updated at 7:32am 12th January 2018)

The 5p bag charge could be coming to all shops soon. Is this a golden opportunity to get rid of them and benefit the environment?

There has been a lot of talk this week over the potential for the 5p carrier bag charge to be extended to all shops including small local shops and it's part of an initiative to reduce plastics to benefit the environment.

For my own part every trip to the supermarket involves getting to the checkout and realising I've once again forgotten to bring one of the cupboard load of bags-for-life that I already have and it's lead to me just buying yet more. It seems I'm not alone in this and buying more bags isn't a bad thing as such but it's what you do with them that causes problems.

I'm not somebody who throws plastic bags away. Instead, as mentioned above, I have a kitchen cupboard full of the damn things but now I've started to consider the environmental implications of these bags being disposed of into landfil and generally left around as litter, my thinking has switched.

I've been out talking to some small independent convenience stores and a number of points were raised.

  1. They have to pay for their carrier bags so it's only fair they should be able to pass that cost on to the customer. As independent shops, margins are very narrow and so the opportunity to free themselves of that cost is welcome.
  2. Despite the opportunity to charge for the bags, they don't feel this will put customers off with the majority willing to pay the 5p charge.
  3. They also recognise the sheer amount of plastic packaging in use within their own stock and broadly support the idea of reducing or replacing this but on the understanding this is a decision that needs to be made by the product manufacturers.
  4. One shop I spoke with are already using small paper bags for smaller item. These can be made from recycled paper and whilst not ideal for the environment if sent to landlfill, are less damaging than plastic carrier bags.

Next time you go to the supermarket, try and re-use your existing bags or as one caller in to my show suggested, keep a couple of boxes in the car boot so you can decant your trolley/basket into the boxes and then carry those into the house when you get home thereby negating any bags at all.

For my part, the damage to the environment is clear for me and I'll be doing my bit to try and reduce my use of plastics.