I can honestly say in the pantheon of things about England that has riled me in recent years, there aren’t all that many that come close to the reaction of some to this introduction of the 5p charge for carrier bags. I was genuinely flabbergasted last night when I listened to the radio in my car and there was a man who phoned in complaining bitterly about the expense and inconvenience that would be coming his way and how it would make a difference to family budgets. There was then the presenter Stephen Nolan actually refusing to believe a text from a listener saying that she always carried a couple of bags around in her handbag. Yes because that is so unthinkable isn’t it?
It is absolutely clear, and has been for some time, that plastic bags are an environmental menace ending up on landfill sites or worse strewn over canals and countryside. Anything that will genuinely help reduce their usage is surely only a good thing and what’s more the rest of the UK (and Ireland) have already proved that charging a small fee for carrier bags works. The statistics do not lie!
Just what makes English people think that they are entitled to get free carrier bags with every shop anyway. Somebody has to make them and you pay for everything else don’t you?! What next, mushrooms should be exempt from charges because your third son doesn’t like them? The Daily Mirror today ran an article about the monstrosity of the charge and how to ‘beat it’ by bringing your own…anyone would think that was the point of the initiative wouldn’t they? I fail to see what is so unthinkable about keeping bags anyway? Is it really so hard when you go out to do your shopping to get into the habit of bringing a bag along with your shopping list? And do they really take up such a lot of space in your handbag or even your pockets? The last one I had was positively light and foldable.
I’ve heard people genuinely say (and it is the genuinely bit that really makes me laugh/scared) that they are worried about the impact it will have on their budgets. Well here’s a bit of advice: if you go out and forget to bring a bag with you or lo and behold you’ve never kept one before you’ve got a few options. You could look on the floor and probably find 5p to pay for a bag. You could storm home in outrage either with no shopping or dropping large amounts of it thereby ruining the idea of your breakfast omlette. Or, and this is the one I’d probably go for, pay your 5p for a bag and think to yourself ‘next time I’ll bring a bag with me’ and then next time bring a bag with you. While you’re at it you could think about other extraordinarily insignificant first world problems that make no actual difference to your life that you might want to get over as well.