Alternate Option
Thoughts from me.
Sunday, June 26, 2005 2:48 pm
Plastic bag rant
The local large supermarkets have been promoting reusable shopping bags for several months now, using stickers, signs, ads and sometimes a fee for every plastic bag dispensed. I remember a similar drive about 10 years ago, which did not take off (locally). The current campaign is much more successful. Reusable bags are a common sight nowadays at the checkout and around the streets.

This would represent a victory of sorts for the environment. A disturbing statistic from Clean Up Australia:
Australia puts 4000 plastic bags into landfills every minute. (Therefore 65 bags every second).

I have been using plastic shopping bags as bin liners for my entire life, and would find it inconvenient to say the least, to change practice. If this source of free bin liners dries up, I’d still need to buy plastic bin liners, and that results in no net benefit to the environment. However, the supermarkets benefit—as they can avoid providing consumers with free plastic shopping bags… especially with the higher price of petrol—the source of the plastic in plastic bags.

Therefore IMHO it is canny how supermarkets are using the environmental movement to divest themselves of providing a free consumer service. And in the process create a market (by selling reusable bags), increase the sale of garbage bags, and finally get points for looking environmentally friendly.

There are no environmental ads or warnings at the garbage bag sections of the supermarket… It seems to me duplicitous to discourage consumers from using plastic shopping bags, while continuing to sell garbage bags.

In my case, I have a couple of solutions: I could separate all food bits and leftovers (which tend to be sticky and soggy) into a compost bin. And toss every bit of rubbish into unlined bins. And then wash the bins out after emptying them. That’s quite hard work actually. Especially since I don’t have a garden worth talking about. And the smell accumulates. So that may not be ideal.

Alternatively, I could use get smaller bins, and then continue using the smaller plastic bags from the vegetable section of the grocery stores as bin liners…

[posted with ecto]


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