Friday, October 16, 2015

Purloined Carts and Other Adventures - O. Reader


“Plastics” was one of the funniest lines said to Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. But “plastics” is currently BIG news in the UK.
England has recent gone over to charging for plastic bags previously given away by supermarkets and other shops. It has created a furore. One paper, The Daily Mail, shrieked in a headline “PLASTIC BAGS CHAOS LOOMS!”
Previously the population had regularly been issued with several dozen plastic bags each time they went shopping, which were then bundled into cupboards and drawers back home, causing near tragedies as housewives and househusbands could be easily buried under them just opening a cupboard door.
Then adding them to landfill, with a 500 year degradable date on them (give or take a decimal point or two) the practice was obviously leading to the ice caps melting and polar bears coming south to roam in the streets in leafy suburbs and feasting on little old ladies.
But now - no more free bags. If you wanted a plastic bag, now you had to pay - at 5 GB pence a bag. Apparently, rather than spending out their small change, the worthy salt of England were now making off with the wire baskets and shopping trolleys normally left at the supermarket entrance. Whether it was leading to cupboards full of purloined shopping trolleys in place of the bags was not revealed by the anonymous researchers who shrieked that this was Plasticbagageddon - or the end of civilization as we know it.
As an Englishman, long resident in Wales, it has to be noted that this new law has already been operative in Wales for several years.
Amazingly enough, the world has continued to turn in Wales. For a start, every 5 pence spent on a bag was not kept by the store, but the law dictated that it had to be donated to charity. In just a year or so there was a report that around 90 thousand GBP had been donated to charity as a result. So even if you bought a plastic bag you still felt a bit virtuous about it.
But then it tailed off. Why? Because now when we go shopping we all take our own bags. We have learned the lesson that officialdom wished us to learn in the beginning - reuse, recycle, don’t keep on dishing out unfriendly plastic that doesn’t degrade and kills wildlife if left in the wrong place, and previously filled cupboards with detritus.
It may smack of what is sometimes called here the Nanny State, but this time, it’s an idea that really has worked in Wales - without revolution and social upheaval. England - over to you.


"zakat tax"
"zakat tax"


  1. It is an idea that is being tried is some parts of the US. Most large groceries and other stores have been selling cloth bags, with their logo emblazoned, for conscientious shoppers to use.

    My wife and I still unfortunately have a large fire hazardous pile of both paper and plastic bags in the corner of the kitchen. We try to re-use them, but the darn things multiply faster than rabbits.

  2. An occasional reader12:05 PM

    The current English joke doing the rounds is that if a plastic bag is worth 5 GB pence - THAT MAKES ME A PLASTIC BAG MILLIONAIRE!!!