I am still undecided whether this idea really makes sense and is worth all the effort and possibly the expense and inconvenience.
On a world basis, discarded plastic bags are a menace. They pollute the country side, take ages to degrade, and are a danger to wildlife.
The reason I have this slightly uneasy feeling about this campaign is that I feel it is tokenism, an easy band waggon to join, and diverts the need to do anything really meaningful.
I have been a proponent of green living and recycling for many years, back beyond the launch of Agenda 21, but I still have this slightly uncomfortable feeling about a campaign that make pariahs out of anyone who dares to ask for a bag to take home their shopping.
The plastic carrier bag is after all, recyclable, so it is not the bag that is the problem, but what people do with them when they get them home. If you shop at Tesco and other main supermarkets you can return the bags for recycling, even the home delivery service will take back your bags. Why doesn't Malvern Hills District Council and others allow the bags to be included in the recyclable items they collect from your doorstep? (Update 2/6/08. MHDC will collect Carrier Bags and a much wider range of recyclable items from Summer 2009)
As households we generate far greater quantities of non-recyclable materials than carrier bags. The past few years has seen a massive increase in the sales of pro-biotic drinks and yoghurts. Most of these are sold in plastic containers that cannot be recycled and all go to landfill where they take for ever to rot down.
Why not encourage or enforce the manufacturers of these products to use recyclable containers?
I look forward to seeing how this campaign develops, but as yet I am not convinced, but in the meantime I will carry on using the only free gift I ever received from MHDC.
Click here to read "Is Recycling a Waste of Time?"