Charging five pence for plastic bags at supermarkets that have over 500 staff from October 2015 has made the headlines. It certainly does not represent a solution to the problem of pollution caused by plastic.
Arguably it is evidence of a Government bankrupt of ideas.
We use eight billion bags a year, why not make them all recyclable? Especially as people who shop online will be exempt from charges.
If the Government is serious about tackling the pollution caused by plastic bags and packaging, introducing a consumer charge is not the way forward. Rather, they should follow Rwanda’s lead and ban them altogether. A phased removal of plastic packaging on items such as water bottles and the unnecessary wrapping on four apples and two pears. Merchandise could be packaged in alternatives such as canvas, paper and glass.
The five pence charged will go to charity. Perhaps this is to make the measure easier to digest. I don’t want my five pence going to a charity over which I may have no choice. I have little time for good works and their associated administrative costs which may leave little for the charity.
The law is a damp squib, it neither tackles pollution nor charitable needs. To realistically tackle plastic pollution, the Government must make sure that all plastic bags are recyclable and that manufacturers use alternatives forms of packaging.