Saturday, 15 February 2014

It’s That Royal ‘We’ Again…

Fiona Harvey boldly states:
Plastic bags are a plague, and we do not need them.
'We' don't?
…the results from experiments in charging for plastic bag use are good. Take Northern Ireland, where a charge was brought in last year, and people have accepted it as a public good. People now bring shopping bags with them when they go out – exactly as it used to be, and hardly an infringement of civil liberties.
No-one's claiming it is, so nice straw man there.

What they are claiming is that it's a nonsensical, feel-good gesture that is placing a huge regulatory burden on supermarkets and inconveniencing shoppers who might want to pop out for a few items at lunchtime without being sting for extra charges.
In an admittedly unscientific poll of shoppers in central Belfast last year, no one I asked was against the charge.
Really? I find that hard to believe.
The coalition is doing the right thing by introducing a charge, one of Nick Clegg's few policy achievements in government. It needs to be done right.
A clear signal that requires all shops to charge the same amount for single-use bags is the way to go, as the experience in Northern Ireland, Wales and other areas has shown.
We do not need a raft of exemptions that would allow a small Tesco Metro to give out bags for free while its out-of-town brother charges.
Of course not. Because if the visits to such bag-offering establishments went up, it’d give the lie to your claims that ‘we’ were in favour of the charge, wouldn't it?


Anonymous said...

On packaging generally, why pick on carrier bags? They're useful for impulse purchases; for keeping condensation from chilled / frozen food away from the absorbent raw cotton bag for life; and then gets filled with food scraps and stuff, off to the landfill.

Why do they not attack an easier target, most of the stuff supermarkets sell? For example, under the weather (who isn't?) so bought some ibuprofen yesterday, four packs of 16 for £1. Each has its cardboard box containing a leaflet and two blister packs. 80% of that product by weight is packaging.

Why wrap a cardboard box around a plastic bag of cornflakes when the same information can be printed in full colour on the plastic? Then maybe heavy cardboard packing cases of cornflakes on a pallet might be replaced by the sort of bulk sack used for sand and gravel, eminently reusable.

The answer comes immediately: that's what customers expect, that's what customers will pay for. Anyone know how USSR cornflakes were sold?

Kind regards, Peter

JohnM said...

Here in France, shops were banned from giving plastic bags to customers "To save the Earth's resources". When they did so the bags became rubbish bags for me.

Now I have to buy rubbish bags - so where is the saving of resources?

wiggiatlarge said...

Carefully packing up a hessian sack on grocery expeditions can seem a lonely crusade at times, as the queue behind you quietly fumes

goes with the hair shirt.

Antisthenes said...

Indeed JohnM is correct in France they did ban plastic bags and instead supermarkets charged 10 cents for sturdy carrier bags instead. These sturdy bags even in a perfect world if used as intended every time you shopped would not last for ever and the production of them and disposal of them when worn out would I suspect be just as damaging environmentally as the previously used plastic bags. Of course it is not a perfect world so they are frequently not used as intended so added to the cost of shopping and therefore were economically as well as environmentally a bad idea. Like all progressives and other left wing loons they believe that an intention has only to be good one for it to championed and implemented forgetting that good intentions do not very often good outcomes make and as they say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". No progressives, eco-loons, lefties and the like are all on intent and not at all on competency of implementation or understanding of consequences when putting in theory good intentions into practice. Perhaps charging for plastic bags has some merit(not if you are want more of your civil liberties eroded) in that the private sector does need a nudge now and then to act responsibly (the public sector as we know under no circumstances ever acts other than wastefully, inefficiently and corruptly so nudging is totally wasted there)and will given the cost incentive come up with the optimal solution.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the paper carrier bags we used to have years ago? They cost 4d (0.4p) each and were biodegradable.

Anonymous said...

People might buy less overall if the containers they are allowed only hold so much.

Anonymous said...

I'm crumbly enough to remember them!

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the paper carrier bags we used to have years ago? They cost 4d (0.4p) each and were biodegradable.XX

And fell apart at the threat of a wet fart. THAT is whats wrong with them.

Anonymous said...

People in Northern Ireland resent the 5p charge, it's regarded as a tax on carrying stuff. They want to extend it to paper bags now.