Friday, September 30, 2011

Charging for plastic bags.

Retailers in Wales will be obliged to charge customers 5p for single use plastic bags in many circumstances as from midnight tonight. Must admit that I'm rather in favour of this, though personally I feel it would have been more effective if they had been banned altogether. Don't suppose many agree with this view.

Wales has taken this decision before England, Scotland and N. Ireland (I think) - though I anticipate that these other home nations will travel down the same route in due course. Ireland introduced a charge for single use plastic bags 9 years ago and the average annual use by individuals is 26 rather than the 328 before the charge was introduced. As one might expect, the FSB and CBI are expressing concerns - which may well be justified. The main charge against the Welsh Government is that the introduction process has been poorly handled. Local retailers are telling me that they have no idea what's happening. Still, there are not likely to be any prosecutions over the first 3 months. There are bound to be a few teething problems, but that's inevitable with a radical change - which this is.

Returning to my personal opinion, I really cannot see why single use plastic bags are not banned altogether. Everyone would know where they were. Be a bit awkward for a week or two, but everyone would soon learn, and always remember a container of some sort when going out buying. Even if there's an emergency and a last minute shop is needed, supermarkets could sell multi-use plastic bags that would serve as long term shopping bags. Admittedly they would cost a bit, but this sort of emergency shouldn't happen often. So there we are. A provisional tick in the approve box for the Wales Government.


Anonymous said...

"… single use plastic bags" ... actually I use my supermarket plastic bags as trash bags, so they are not single use.

Research has indicated that the replacement 'green bags" typically used around 60 or so times before they are chucked and replaced with another 'green bag'; green bags use up a lot more resources.

The typical 'green bag' is made of cotton and that means quite a bit of energy is used to farm and collect and process the collected cotton into a 'green bag'.

If someone reuses their supermarket plastic bag the time before breaking even doubles.

Anonymous said...

Single use plastic bags have been almost completely eradicated in Ireland as a result of the levy, without any need to officially ban them. Reuseable bags made from a heavier plastic cost about 40 cent and canvas bags are now the norm. They are far more economical. In fact most shops and supermarkets don't even stock the single-use bags any more. Newsagents, clothing shops, etc give out paper bags (usually with handles) when customers need them. However, all of this is largely due to the fact that a single use plastic bag costs about 20 cent. Not sure how effective a 5p charge would be.

Anonymous said...

I cut this from Bishop Hill (source of the quote unknown).

Advice from the Welsh 'government' states the following:

"You could have loose apples, potatoes and pears in one bag and not have to charge. If you then placed a box of tea bags in there too, you would need to apply the charge...A person can not put an apple in one bag with lots of other shopping, a potato in another bag with lots of other shopping, a lettuce in another etc. and get all their single use carrier bags for free...If you went to a fast food restaurant and purchased a packet of fries and a burger then the fries can be placed in a free bag...If the burger is also placed in the bag, then the bag would be charged for."

Great. So if I get a burger and chips and ask for a bag, then when I put the chips in the bag I don't have to pay for the bag, but if I then put the burger in I'm expected to pay for the bag that was free when I put the chips in? Does the law define a minimum time lag between paying for the goods and the bag being chargeable? Best to pay and then pack your stuff how you want. No-one is surely going to go after you or the shop once all is paid and it's your property.

D Pimborough said...

Sadly my dear old 72 year old mother was gutted as she now has nothing to put her pussy cat's litter in so rahter than buy plastic bags I shop in England and import bags back in to Wales and donate them to a worthy cause pussy is happy and so my dear old Mum :oD

Now all the Senedd has to do is tackle the chip papers, McDonalds detritus, car tyres, washing machines and other none bio degradables that frequently litter rural Wales.

Anonymous said...

cospaI agree with the ban on bags for food shopping we have been using far to many but I do object when buying clothes, ,shoes etc that I have to pay for the bag, these items are expensive and I think the retailer should absorb this charge