Why We Should Pay More For Carrier Bags

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How much are your carrier bags costing you and the planet? Can raising the price you pay at the supermarket make you more environmentally aware as well as helping others?

Making them more expensive might seem extreme but my proposition isn’t simply madness. Raising the cost of a plastic bag for your shopping makes sense in many ways.

Saving the planet

Waste from the UK is routinely transported to other countries for disposal. In some cases the waste disposal process consists of simply dumping the rubbish in places liks India. As a responsible shopper, the thought of my rubbish polluting someone elses countryside makes me sad.

What’s worse is the impact on wildlife. A recent report highlighted the death of a sperm whale after its stomach had been blocked by a plastic bottle. And it’s getting worse. Do you really want you children to learn about the bygone beauty of our planet
through history books?

Helping the eco industry

All around the world, there’s a growing eco industry. The problem is that, for some of you, the prices they charge are simply too high to contemplate. As we reject the accepted use of plastic carrier bags we force the supermarkets and shops to source their bags and containers from ethical sources. As the demand on these industries grows the price of production starts to fall. This means the cost to you, the consumer, starts to fall as well. Green and cheap – who can argue with that?

Supporting charity

How does supporting charity fit in with paying more for your plastic shopping bags? Rather than filling the supermarkets tills as extra profit, all the money raised will go to charity. Every month, the newly appointed ‘Minister for plastic Bags’ will randomly select 10 charities from his big book of good causes. The proceeds raised from carrier bags sales over the last month will then be split between them. Bonkers idea? Not really, the National Lottery is doing it so why can’t we do it again?

You save more money

How much does a carrier bag currently cost? In many cases, they’re free. Some of the larget chains of shops and supermarkets are making customers pay 5p for a bag. Let’s say we use an average of 6 carrier bags per week and multiply that by 50 (not 52 as we do need to go on holiday sometime :)).That’s £15 per year. I reckon we could fit in about 40 years of shopping in our lives which means you’re going to spend about £600 on shopping bags in your
lifetime (not including inflation). Now compare that to buying a £3.99 reusable shopping bag for that lasts for 5 years.

Job creation in sustainable industries

Jobs will be lost in the industries that supply the carrier bags and the materials neeeded to make them. As sustainable industries start to fill the gap left by the demise of existing carriers bags then jobs will be created in this new, sustainable industry. It’s win-win for everyone – killer carrier bags are dead and the greeen industry gets a boost – consumer and manufacturer alike.

Lower taxes for manufacturers

This might seem counter intuitive but let’s look at this a little more closely. Manufacturing industries need to keep production costs as low as possible. If the cost is too high then nobody will buy hence forcing the price up to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. For the new industry to gain a foothold the government will have to reduce the taxes on the raw materials and finished products. It’s a long shot but a well
place ‘petition in the nuts’ might spur the Chancellor into action.

Improving your memory

How often do you go out with good intentions? The boot of your car is filled with environmentally friendly bags. The problem comes when you get to town. Instead of heading straight to the supermarket you visit the newsagent. As you’re walking, taking your own bags is a hassle. From the news agent, you head directly to the supermarket – without your shopping bags. Familiar story? I think I may have just invented a new way to improve you memory!

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