Sunday, 17 April 2011

I've got this issue in the bag

Something that has annoyed me for quite a while now is the thoughtless use of plastic carrier bags. Being from Germany, I'm used to cotton bags, baskets, collapsible plastic boxes or little trolleys you can fill up to the brim. If you don't bring you own you can buy one. Here in the UK you get a bag even if you only buy some chewing gum. If you go into a shop, watch the assistant behind the till, the repeated move they make is either licking their index-finger or tapping it onto a wet sponge in order to get the often blue carrier bags open. My regular response is, 'No bag, please, save the environment.'

Even more upsetting is the sight in the supermarkets: before the person at the check out will scan your goods, the more important duty is to build up a mountain of plastic bags and when I see the amount of people who use them, I feel sick. If they at least would use them again, but no, I guess, they just chuck them into the bin. All ten of them.

A familiar sight

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an eco-warrior and walk around in self-knitted undercrackers, but there are certain things we could do to help. I'm all for supermarkets to charge for bags. This might help to get people to use more environment-friendly versions, like in Germany for instance. Supermarkets offer them already for under a pound and you can use them until they fall apart. I have two big re-usable bags and I easily fit the contents of two to three plastic bags in one of them. It's a matter of smart packing. Not to mention that they are much prettier.

Same goes for energy saving bulbs, switching off lights in rooms you are not in. Not only has it a positive effect on the environment, it also will be in favour of your energy bill. I find people need to think a little bit more ahead. They bring children into the world they are not looking after.
So next time you go to the supermarkets or shops, try to take a bag with you.




  1. I'll tell you honestly that using those reusable bags in the States is available but a pain. We have people to bag your groceries (how they make you bag your own groceries in the UK would be considered bad customer service in the States). We use the big, reusable bags in whole food markets or generic food markets (like Aldis). I can't stand the reseable ones because they get dirty and you need to bag things separately (ex-grocery store worker). I, however, use my carrier bags all the time for trash or taking to the gym. I'm so not an Eco-warrior either.

  2. Hi, Suzanne

    I see the problem. To me, it's weird to have someone else packing my bag. I'm usually quite quick with this and have my 'routine'.

    If you use them for the trash, then it's fine, because that's usually a plastic bag, too. Here, we have holes in the bags so that children don't suffocate, meaning they are useless for rubbish. It would leak.