Posts Tagged ‘reusable bags’

Satireday on Eco-Crap


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


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?

Change the World Wednesday – 29th Feb

The old boot has absolutely nothing to do with the story, but it's still a good idea for a planter

I’m going to leap right into the fray. (It’s a pun, get it, get it?….. oh, never mind)

I only get to do that joke once every four years and you lot (both of you) didn’t even raise an eyebrow.

This is a real Change the World Wednesday, Reduced Footprints fooled me. I didn’t realise that the real McCoy would be integrated with the Dailies.

As a result of my charm and wit, you’ll get two posts today, which I hope you’ll appreciate.

Now, where was I before I started waffling?


Oh, yes, Change the World Wednesday….

Lastweek’s challenge to calculate your carbon footprint was an interesting exercise. I wasn’t enthused about my result, because I am more conscious of almost everything in this are than are 95% of Brazilians, and yet the result showed that I was waaaaay above the country average and the world target. Quite frankly, I don’t believe it. For example, there are many homes in Brazil that do not use electricity because they don’t have it, but was their candle burning, wood burning cooking and fossil fuel lighting taken into account in the initial calculations?

The challenge this week:

Reduce the number of plastic bags you use by getting a fabric or reusable bag for shopping. Although plastic bags use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago, most are still made from polyethylene, a non-degradable plastic. If you live near a brewery, you can obtain 15-20 gallon durable, synthetic grain bags which breweries usually throw away. These can either be used as garbage bags or rinsed out and re-used to take trash to the dump.

I usually do, but sometimes an impromptu therapy session supermarket visit can catch me without my bags, so I have to accept their plastic ones.

I can’t remember if I mentioned that São Paulo state has just banned plastic bags in all retail outlets. Will this come to Rio de Janeiro? I hope so.

Big durable bags

The second part of the challenge, If you live near a brewery… . Oh one can dream. I live a whole 11 metres (about 12 yards) from my botequim (a local neighbourhood  bar), but they don’t have big durable bags; unless you count some of the customers, then we have two. But they don’t drink martinis, mainly because if you asked Raimundo for a martini, he’d just blink at you because he has no idea how to make them.

The chances of getting the bags as suggested in the challenge is remote, because here they are already spoken for by somebody who makes them into carry bags for the street markets and sells them.

They used to cost 50 centavos, but I have seen the price rise to R$1 and now they are R$2. That’s inflation for you.

90% of the people use the supermarket bags for rubbish day. Even the kitchen and bathroom rubbish bins are made to fit the plastic bags.

That is something I must explain. Here in Brazil we do not put used toilet paper in the toilet to flush. There is a rubbish bin next to the toilet for that. You see most of the sewerage systems can’t take the paper. Many of the systems here don’t have sewerage treatment and the effluent often finishes up in rivers; paper would just be an added problem. So the toilet paper goes in the bin and out with the rubbish to the street rubbish collection three times a week.

So, in answer to the challenge, yes, I do, in as much as possible try to reduce the amount of plastic bagging that passes through my house.


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