Saturday, 1 October 2011

Wales vs. Plastic Bags (err… or disposable bags)

I do love – no wait, maybe love is too strong a word – I do like my reusable bags:
a) they are strong and don’t break
b) I can fit quite a lot of stuff in them
c) some are small enough to tie up and keep in my handbag
d) they display pretty pictures and don’t advertise huge multinational companies.

I first heard about the Welsh plastic bag ban proposals on BBC Breakfast some days ago and was instantly impressed. Finally, a decision on this island has been made to try and prevent people from engaging with disposable products. Hurrah! However I’m not sure if charging 5p for a bag will stop people from using them or simply mean that people will use them but pay for them instead. But an outright ban could be too totalitarian… I guess.

So what’s wrong with plastic bags? Why have Wales taken this stance?

The Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones as called plastic bags “a waste of natural resources” – agreed. Up to 273 bags per Welsh household were consumed last year from supermarkets alone, indicating a consumer reliance on the disposable carrier while also highlighting the major problem of waste. Ultimately the plastic bag is designed for single meaning that local authorities can spend up to £1m clearing them every year. By imposing this ban or charge Wales expect to reduce usage by 90%.

Source: The Guardian

So, any rules?

Well, firstly it’s not just plastic bags: paper and plant material bags are also included. They all waste energy is the argument – true. So the real ban is any form of disposable bag, something the headlines are missing out.

Secondly, plastic bags, or should I say disposable bags, can be freely given out for food products that are not already packaged.

Are they really that bad?

In the grand scale of things, perhaps not: according to George Monbiot in today’s Guardian carrier bags account for 3.2% of domestic waste – not a lot really. But this one small step for man could be the giant leap to protect the environment and other species with share this planet with. I have to admit; after hearing that oestrogen is released into the oceans when the bags breakdown ultimately entering the food chain I immediately felt ill. No-one wants to be fat, infertile or cause cancer. That should be an indicator for everyone that plastic bags should be phased out.

Now go and dig out that reusable bag you promised to use.

Source: Bag It Don't Bin It

Source: Eco Green Bags