Make you Fink on Friday

It appears as though we are just not getting the message.

Plastic bag use ‘up for second year running’

Waste plastic bags at a recycling plant in South Glamorgan, Wales. Photograph: The Photolibrary Wales/Alamy

UK supermarkets handed out 8bn single-use plastic bags last year, up 5.4% on 2010, say government figures

The number of single-use plastic bags handed out to shoppers by UK supermarkets has risen for the second year running, new figures from the government’s waste reduction body Wrap have revealed. The figures will be a huge disappointment to the government, which backed a voluntary scheme to cut the use if throwaway bags.

A total of 8bn “thin-gauge” bags were issued in the UK in 2011 – a 5.4% rise on the 7.6bn in 2010 – and with every shopper now using an average of almost 11 a month.

It is the second year in a row the number of throwaway plastic bags has risen, although their use has fallen by more than a third (35%) since 2006, when 12.2bn bags were handed out. Retailers have blamed the recession, saying families have changed their shopping habits and are doing more smaller shops every week – often using public transport.

Source: The Guardian Read more

Opinion:

The figures quoted are for the United Kingdom, but I have no doubts that the trend worldwide would be rather similar.

We just don’t appear to be getting the message.

Figures fell initially, but complacency has obviously raised it’s ugly head and the last two years both show an increase, and not small increases, 5.4% must be considered major.

“Your Dad is training to be Carmen Miranda?” – “No, he’s come from the supermarket without bags!”

São Paulo here in Brazil recently brought in measures to ban them from all retail outlets, but within two weeks supermarkets brought them back citing a dramatic fall off in business; customers were saying simply, “No bags, put the stuff back on the shelves!” and walking out leaving their purchases on the checkout and in trolleys (shopping carts, for our American cousins).

Rio de Janeiro has similar plans afoot.At the moment it is not law here in Rio.

Preparing for the event, my own supermarket (not mine, but where I shop) has begun to offer reusable bags. Last night as I was doing my monthly stock up, I noticed them. not because they were just hanging there at the checkout, but because one of the checkout girls was explaining them to a customer as an alternative; he brought and used one saving about ten plastic bags going by the number of purchases he had.

Brazilians buy up big at the beginning of the month

I asked for and got boxes. I can because I use a frete (delivery), but many people can’t because they walk distances or use buses and a bag is essential. Also, here in Brazil we are hampered by the monthly salary, not that it’s much (this month my pay slip was papel de cebola – onion paper, enough to make you cry). Because people are paid monthly, they shop at the beginning of the month; and it’s a big shop, because at the end of the month, they are broke with no money to buy more. So they have to buy big when they can, and they bring more than one person so they can carry their produce home, maybe a kilometer, or two (mile+). For them bags are essential, and the reusable bag becomes more attractive as they are easier to carry than hands clutching up to ten bags (I know, I have done this, it’s murder on the fingers).

It’s easier to do this….

…than this!

Brazilians are also big fans of the trundler, which makes the option less attractive…

It’s harder to fit reusable bags in trundlers

Just some thoughts here about the situation in Brazil. Does your location present similar or particular problems?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by PalomaSharma on July 11, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Here in Mumbai, plastic bags thinner than 50 microns are banned but not every shop follows it.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Some supermarkets charge for bags here in NZ, and some don’t

    Like

    Reply

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