Plastic carrier bags are a practical, useful, and a cost-effective way of transporting our weekly shop from the store to our door, but one only has to Google the words ‘plastic bags’ to find a whole barrage of stories against the humble carrier bag.
Why are Plastic Carrier Bags so bad?
Well it seems we are demanding far too many ‘single use’ plastic carrier bags from our supermarkets each year, and rather than disposing of them correctly at the landfill or recycle plant, we are littering up the countryside and the sea, and causing untold damage to wildlife and sea life.
What is the Government doing to reduce the amount of carrier bags in the UK?
In a bid to relieve pressure from environmental groups, governments across the country are introducing a carrier bag ‘tax’ or ‘levy’, in the hope that it will encourage the public to reuse their shopping bags. Carrier bags are already taxed in Wales, plastic bags in Ireland will be taxed from 2013, and Scotland is consulting on the issue – England has yet to follow suit.
Are Eco Carrier Bags better for the environment than Polythene Carrier Bags?
This is a popular question, and one that seems to have several different answers. Paper carrier bags made from sustainable sources are both recyclable and compostable, and as such, are considered kinder on the environment, but a recent report released by the environmental agency suggests that plastic bags might not be eco-villains after all. The ‘Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags’ found that polythene carrier bags may be ‘greener’ than the alternatives, and we would have to reuse our cotton carrier bags over 150 times before they could be considered more beneficial to the environment.
So are we soon to see the end of Cheap Carrier Bags in the UK?
Only time will tell. The British Government is urging shopkeepers and retailers to ‘do their bit’, and while we may face a carrier bag tax in the near future, an outright ban, such as that introduced in Los Angeles, seems unlikely.