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The 5p Plastic Bag - Have You Ever Wondered...


We had fantastic news published at the end of July 2015 that the plastic bag usage dropped by more than 80% to about 500 million compared to 7 billion before the 5p charge in October 2015 and accumulated a donation of more than £29 million for charities.


 But have you ever wondered....

  • Where the 5p goes to? Most shops do not inform their shoppers which charities they and their customers are supporting by paying for that plastic bag!  At most there is a vague mention of environmental projects. It’s only 5p but it would indeed be nice to know where it goes and supermarkets can use the information to promote their sustainability and increase patronage.
  • How does one buy on impulse - for clothes, books, etc? Do we carry big handbags that can hold our bags for life all the time? Some stores do provide paper or even plastic bags, but many other big stores do not even bother to wrap the purchase even if it is an expensive and delicate item! Ironically, buying online and collecting the item from the store gets you a plastic bag though – and a thick on at that!
  • The plastic bags are still available, albeit at a cost of 5p! And when you buy one, another one is manufactured to take its place. The reusable bags or bag for life are more expensive than the plastic ones. And one store’s bags for life aren’t exactly a bag for life. Mine have torn many times and I had to get them replaced. Wonder what happens to the torn ones?
  • Demand for Bin liners have been on the increase. One wonders why? Most of us had a ready supply of plastic bags for the bin under our sink.  How are using plastic bin liners saving the environment?
  • Some of us have taken advantage of the reusable bags and why not - use a Waitrose or Sainsbury bag to shop at Lidl. Once you are out of the store, you can parade your ‘status’ bags with cheaper purchases.

There is one oriental supermarket that I go to that interestingly does not provide any plastic bags at all, even for 5p. Instead it has stacked its empty cardboard cartons of all sizes in a corner and shoppers are free to take and use any size to suit their needs to carry their groceries in. Now that is really reusing containers and biodegradable ones at that!

Won’t it be better if retailers are forced by law to replace all plastic bags with reusable ones and not charge customers for these? This way the onus is not put totally on the customer to bring their own bags or buy from the store. It makes for happy customers, happy retailers sold on sustainability with increased patronage and a happy planet.

Do share your experience with the 5p plastic bag.


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