[Rant] How can this be environmentally friendly?

The Environmentally Friendly bunch have been lobbying retailers here in the UK (and probably elsewhere), to either do away with free plastic carrier bags or start charging for them.

The trend is starting to catch on. Some shops that used to give you a free bag have now started charging for them. The other day I went into WH Smith’s (one of the UK’s largest newsagent, stationary and bookstore chains in the UK), and bought a magazine. In the past they’d always give you a bag no problem.

However, last week the girl took my money and just gave me the magazine and receipt but no bag. So I asked “Can I have a bag please?”

To which she replied “Yes, but I’ll have to charge you 1p for it.”

So I paid my 1p and got my bag. But how is this helping the environment?:

  1. When she gave me the bag she also gave me a receipt and that probably cost more than 1p to print.
  2. It surely makes it more of a nightmare for the security staff to keep an eye on shoplifters as the assumption is if you have stuff in a bag given to you at the checkout you must have bought the item(s) inside rather than just walking out of the shop with a bunch of stuff.
  3. I’m assuming the cost of the bag used to be a “hidden cost” included in the price so does that mean everything is going to be reduced in price by 1p now I need to pay for a bag?

I’m all for doing my bit for the environment but this seems an ill-thought out strategy implemented by companies that just want to be able to say “Look at us we’re doing our bit for the environment by charging for bags, aren’t we good?”

Errr no? Why not give people bags that don’t have the issues of the plastic carriers (such as being biodegradable), and THEN you’ll be doing your bit for environment.

Published Tuesday, July 29, 2008 9:13 AM by chobbs
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# re: [Rant] How can this be environmentally friendly?

This started in China a few weeks ago with China suggesting that it was a rousing success.  You can only believe about 10% of the news that comes from the Chinese gov't.  However, China has a horrible waste management problem with the Chinese people contributing to the litter in the streets, countrysides, and hillsides.  So, it does help China's environmental problem by not giving the Chinese people something to throw alongside the road.  In other, more civilized areas of the world, I'm with you, I'm not sure how this helps at all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 7:03 AM by rodtrent