It’s in the bag — but the bag is in the boot. — Why free bags aren’t working….

Figures from Wrap, the Government body which aims to reduce waste and increase recyling, this week revealed that supermarket carrier bag use actually increased in 2011 rather than decreased. The figures were up 5.4% on the previous year.

But to be honest I’m not surprised. I’m a bit OCD when it comes to recycling and also have a boot full of reusable supermarket bags (and a rather strange addiction to collecting new design ones). Yet most of the time I either forget to take them in at all or, more usually, come out with twice the amount of stuff that I planned on buying so have to grab a handful of plastic bags too. Yet a little part of me reasons my logic with the fact that I can always reuse them as bin bags.

In Wales a voluntary charge was introduced. The effect was a 22% fall in use. It seems it does pay to charge and as long as retailers aren’t seen to be profiteering from it that’s fine by me. At least it might mean I get some use from the bags that are littering my boot!


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