I see from this post on Matt’s blog that since Marks & Spencer have started charging for disposable carrier bags, they have managed to reduce the usage of these bags by an impressive 80%. This is an achievement they ought to be proud of. Environmentalists have been campaigning for years for the government to tax carrier bags.
I understand the protesters who argue that this would put further financial burdens on poorer families shopping bills but if the big four supermarket giants followed the example of M&S there wouldn’t be any added expense.
Not only did M&S give prior warning many months before their charge was to commence, but they also gave away free reusable carrier bags to all their customers and told them that when their re-usable bag was no longer fit for use, they should return it and the store will replace it free of charge.
This is a common sense and all-round fair policy to me. No-one is worse off if they re-use their FREE re-usable carrier bags (which is the whole point) and the environment benefits.
My sister shops at Asda (as do I occasionally when it’s convenient) and she tells me that they no longer throw bundles of carrier bags at you at the check-out. They have the reusable ones available but the free throwaway ones are kept out of sight and the checkout operatives ask you if you need any before they drag out a million of them and then proceed to pack two items per bag. And according to one checkout girl, they are soon going to start charging for them. Their stores also have recycling bins for carrier bags which is a good thing and I’m not knocking it but I think it would be better if there was an all-round change it attitude towards our purchased goods. I can go around the shopping mall buying all kinds of products from different shops and come home with about ten little plastic bags. Well no more does this happen because as the shop assistant in each shop proceeds to place the product in a little plastic bag, it’s snatched from her hands and shoved into my own bag with a polite, it’s ok, I don’t need a bag. That is unless my daughter is with me and it’s a trendy shop with a designer label slapped across the front – carrier bag snob that she is. Actually, some of those bags from the designer shops are very strong, some come with draw-string handles and my kids use them time and again to carry their PE kits or their dance gear to and from school.
And talking of Green issues, I hear that nominations for the Green party leadership are now closed. Caroline Lucas and Adrian Ramsay Ashley Gunstock are both going to stand and will compete against each other for the top job.
My own preferred candidate is Caroline but much luck to the both of them. They both stand for the issues that I passionately believe in and I hope this new Green party struture is successful, that it makes them stronger and that they remain individually unique. In the meantime we vote and we wait.