Thursday 21 February 2008

Bagless Society?

I am interested in saving the planet. Aren't we all? It's not weird to be green anymore. It is barely worth commenting on. I like Marks and Spencer's view on it. They have their "Plan A"... because there is no Plan B.

So having said. We all went to have a world to live in tomorrow (so to speak). There are little things that we can all do. Little ways that we can do our bit. Most of them aren't hard. Some cost a few more pence, but that isn't much to pay (literally) to secure our future. You'd think so, wouldn't you.

I have noticed increasingly that people just don't seem to be bothered though. Two observations today.

1) I was on my way to my Physio appointment, which necessitated me changing buses at the Royal Standard. As I was waiting I noticed that the bins were out waiting for collection (as a large number are on a Thursday, it being bin day for a good large part of the Borough). Greenwich Borough's new refuse scheme is well documented by me and by others. It's been a few weeks now, enough time for people to work out what they do and how they do it. You'd have though, wouldn't you? Apparently not.

Are people lazy or just selfish. It really is very simple. There are even stickers on the bins to help you. Blue is for recycled dry goods... the other bin (with the red sticker which helpfully says "food waste only") is for compsibles. Simple? What happens if you don't follow the rules. Well, I think the bin doesn't get collected. At the Standard (and this is not an isolated incident) I saw a food waste bin overflowing with black bags, I could see a broken baby bottle and child's toy in amongst the other 'food waste' waiting for compost. Is sorting rubbish to much of a chore? Is it that hard to put things in the right bin? I sincerely hope that persistent offenders get some sort of note from the Council to alert them to the error of their ways!

2) Carrier bags. Pet peeve of mine this one. I own a lot of alternatives to carrier bags. I have little folding shopping bags from Sainsbury's (75p each, these are a must) - these fold up to a few inches and spring open when you need them. Very roomy. I have an 'organic' bag (also Sainsbury's) which is a bit smaller, and smells a bit - but easy to stack shopping in. I have some giant shoppers (M&S, Sainsbury's and oddly the Dogs Trust)... and I have a huge collection of 'bags for life' (various stores). Bags for Life are great - if you haven't tried them... you pay a nominal fee (I think it is 10p) and when the bag falls to bits you take it back to the store where you bought it and they replace is like for like. Much bigger than regular carrier bags. Now with all this choice... why would you want a carrier bag. Why? They are smaller than they used to be, so you need more. They are now mostly some sort of 'degradable' plastic which means they aren't as strong as they were, and another draw back to this is that they are pretty much see through so everyone can see your shopping (well I don't like that!).

With all this choice, why do we need any stores giving away carrier bags. If they must be used. Sell them! I've got it all worked out. Those little racks they hang off. Simply put a counter onto them, whenever anyone pulls one off it adds 5p to the shopping bill. They would soon go out of fashion. I was horrified to see the trolleys in the supermarkets today pulling away from the checkouts simply overflowing with these bags. Come on people... let's make a difference. Always say no to bags, always carry a shopping bag with you. Bye-bye to bags!