A poorly-informed Guardian hack is getting her knickers in a twist over the problem of “plastic bags” when what she actually means is “plastic carrier bags”. And yes, dear, there is a difference. We all know it, why don’t you?
The problem with a plastic carrier bag – not plastic bags per se – charge is that it will be widely perceived as yet another tax levied on the poor by this toxic and corrupt government. So who gets the money?
And why do I say the hack is poorly informed? Mainly because she goes on to say this: “Plastic bags are a plague, and we do not need them.”. That’s an extremely narrow-minded viewpoint and simply isn’t true – some of us actually DO need them.
Being housebound, I get my groceries delivered. Unless I want the delivery person to dump a mound of loose items at my door, carrier bags are essential. There is no provision, nor can I see how there possibly could be, for using my own bags as I would if I could shop in person. And yes, thank you, I do know that Ocado/Waitrose will take their bags back but, because of their robustness, I actually find them useful.
There is an alternative – the delivery person could bring my stuff in and stack it on the kitchen worktop (or even put it away for me. This option is part of the deal, but I don’t take advantage of it because, if everybody did, the delivery system would grind to a halt.
I would, therefore, object strenuously to a carrier-bag levy when their use is unavoidable (plus every bag I get is reused, not simply thrown away), on top of the often (Sainsbury’s and Ocado/Waitrose), extortionate delivery charge.
In my home plastic carriers are not the problem. The sheer volume of empty drug blister packs, which can’t be recycled as foil is welded to plastic, which in my case amounts to a carrier-bag, tightly packed, every 10 days or so, is far more of a problem, and there are a hell of a lot of very sick people in the land disposing of similar, or greater, amounts of crap, but I never see anyone bitching about that.
A return to dispensing tablets and capsules in bottles would solve the problem.
Er, yes, I do know why blister packs are used – people can be moronic, though most of us aren’t, I hope, and leave bottles uncapped, causing the drugs to deteriorate or even, in some cases, become toxic if they get damp or otherwise contaminated; I dare say there are other reasons, too. Then there are glass drug bottles to dispose of (codeine linctus and Oramorph). Once these could be returned to the pharmacy for re-use. Then we went to single-use plastic bottles (also for tabs and caps**), and now we have single-use glass bottles, probably because it’s cheaper and less hassle than recycling.
**Currently, out of my 19 drugs, only 3 come in plastic bottles or tubs (and another three are inhalers).
Also a greater problem than carrier bags, at least in my home, is the amount of extraneous food packaging that has to be disposed of. As with drugs, there’s an easy fix at the packaging stage – use less.
But, back to my first point – who DOES get the revenue from a carrier-bag tax?
By the way – I don’t recycle. I simply don’t have the room for the multiple containers needed for the separation of crap. As for composting, forget it – playing host to a bucket of festering food waste** is never going to happen! If you want me to recycle, give me a kitchen that’s much bigger than my current one, which is about the size of a king-size bed! Or better yet, give me a shed. For my views on the subject, see this post and this one.
**The amount of food waste I generate is vanishingly small, as what can’t be eaten quickly is frozen. Of the 3 litres of Lamb and Cannellini Beans with Dates and Harissa (stunningly good), I made last week, I ate one portion, and another 5 are in the freezer.
NB: You’ll find a slightly shorter version of this in the Guardian article’s comments. Not plagiarism – I’m LePendu.