Saturday, 1 February 2014

Bags, Bags and Plastic Bags

 
One of the best things I've found that Wales does that England does not ... is charge for bags.  Yes, that's right if you need a plastic carrier bag from the supermarket or any shop you have to BUY it.
 
Nothing gets folk changing their habits more quickly than hitting them in the wallet or purse.  I have taken shopping bags with me for all my shopping for years now, but on occasion if I had filled them up and needed an extra bag I would have taken a plastic bag from the rack, now I say no thanks and simply put the excess loose in the trolley and then in the boot of my car until I get home.
 
 
When I had my own shop a few years ago and going forward into the Farmers Markets when we lived in Oxfordshire I used to sell these nice little jute bags at just over cost price to encourage my customers to not use plastic bags.  In fact the opening offer for my shop in the first week was 'Spend £10 or Over and Get A Free Shopping Bag'.  It was lovely in the months after the shop opening to see my regular customers around town shopping with their bags.
 
I keep my shopping bags in the boot of the car at all times otherwise I know I would forget them and I also have a fold up really lightweight one in my little handbag, which gets folded up and put back in there the minute it is emptied.  When I get home from any shopping trip everything is unpacked straight away and the bags taken back to the car ready for next time.
 
 
Not that I'm actually doing much shopping at the moment ... but I do like to think I am doing my bit for the environment. 
 
I really hate it when you see a large supermarket trolley piled high with someone's weekly shop and everything has been put into plastic carrier bags.  It doesn't even calm me to know that they had to pay for them, it just makes me think 'more money than sense'. And yes I do know that lots of carrier bags are made from recycled plastic these days but this still uses resources in the collecting, making and re-delivery to the shops, so better but not best!!
 
 
What do you use for your shopping are you a person like me with a boot full of collected bags, a 'Bag for Life' type of person, or a person who forgets their bags and through gritted teeth and takes the plastic disposable option whether free or not. 
 
Sue xx
 
 
 
 

32 comments:

  1. Like you I use my own bags and have started taking some cotton ones with me into which I put loose fruit and veg having weighed it and got the sticker which I stick to my list in case I am one of the random checks at Waitrose! I hate packaging and especially carrier bags which so often end up fluttering from trees (how come I wonder?!) In France they don't have plastic carriers and you must buy a long life bag should you go without one. I still use a couple of these more than 5 years later. I also have a couple of nylon fold up ones and always have one in my handbag. Glad to hear Wales has got it right/green and hope England will soon follow and do away with plastic carriers for which we are all paying as obviously the cost to the retailer is added to the cost of the goods.

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  2. We use the bigger, thicker supermarket bags for life....think they're usually 50p, they last for ages and don't get punctured/ripped like the cheaper 10p plastic ones. However, 3 or 4 of ours are now looking past their best so we've decided to use them for growing spuds in (will be able to get an earlier crop as our wet, boggy, muddy garden is not going to be ready for planting for goodness knows how long!!). We'll buy another couple of bags next time we shop.

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  3. I do the same as you. Always have a couple of home made last forever bags in the car, and a cupboard in the kitchen for the rest. I automatically go to the cupboard first before I leave the house to go shopping, so I have five or six in the car. It's a matter of getting into the habit. I think every single plastic bag should cost at least 10p or 20p at the checkout. I am going to make some bags from the fabric stash I have upstairs, and give them away. I like the slogan, Plastic bags are rubbish, might use that.

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    1. I love your handmade bags Ilona and the one you made for me is still in constant use, thank you.

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  4. I seem to have collected a cupboard full of jute bags/cotton bags, given free at various times from different places. I think they will last me for the rest of my life. Co-op here stopped free carriers years ago so we have got used to it.

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  5. I have a boot of assorted bags too, and like Sue put them straight back in the car when the shopping has been unloaded. I also use a Carrefour 'bag for life' for our washing as they are really good quality, just the right size, not particularly appealing for someone to walk off with (on-site) but not too expensive to replace if they did. Also, these ones at least are not only long-lasting, but exchangeable for life (unlike their UK equivalent) I manage to acquire a couple of cotton shoulder bags at the Caravan Show in Birmingham last October, which I use for carrying veg etc, and sometimes take things to work, as they can be washed and repaired when they get dirty.

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  6. On the same wavelength as you, I also take my own bags for shopping and have done for years. I use a shopping trolley when I go around the shop and fill my own bags at the till. I often get asked at the till if I need
    plastic bags, but I never do as I always bring enough bags of my own. Sadly, you don`t see many folk doing it my way. People still ate using the plastic bags they give out at the tills. I`m sure that this would change if we were charged for those bags. Well done to Wales for having taken that initiative!

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  7. I have about a dozen bags in my car boot - a mix of some 10p type Bags for life, some of the 50p type bags and some jute and cotton bags. In my handbag I have a very lightweight bag which stuffs into it's own internal pocket so it takes up hardly any room - it was made from recycled plastic bottles and is purple, so I like using it :)

    I volunteer for a charity and we give out donations to families and also hold sales several types a year, so I give my excess bags (eg from clothes shopping) to them, along with those binliner type bags (but full of holes) pushed through the door on behalf of charities :)

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  8. I have shopped at aldi for years so always take bags as they charge.

    Donna



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  9. I have 4 bags in the boot of my car, many years ago I bought 4 from Lakeland they are made of some sort of woven reclaimed plastic and hold a good amount. One of the bags handle broke, so until I can find something to replace it with its been retired. I also have a just Tesco bag that my daughter gave me. I carry a small lightweight bag in my bag which incedentely unzips in the middle to make a weekend bag with outside pockets, very useful if I get caught short and need a bag in a hurry. Its very rare I use supermarket plastic bags except if I use the quick check out, where the machine keeps giving you messages if you do not put the stuff in a plastic bag thats hanging at the side. Most annoying, I unload the stuff into my shopping bag and leave the plastic bag behind once I have paid the bill.

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    1. A tip for if you use the self-service checkouts (the sort without conveyor belts) from my son who works at Sainsbury's, since he told me this one it's saved me a lot of frustration.

      DON'T put your shopping in a bag at all, push the supermarkets own bags back out of the way and stack your purchases in front of where the bags are as neatly as you can, bag everything up at the end of the transaction. The only annoying thing is the constant recorded voice saying "please take your shopping, please take your shopping" while you then pack your own bags.

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    2. I use the self check outs in Sainsburys at our smaller store in town and you can use your own bag just put it on the weighing plate where the plastic carriers are and if you are not sure what you press get an assistant to do it. The machine weighs your bag before you start and then it will accept the shopping you put in.

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  10. Bags kept always in the boot of the car. Cotton bag for local shops. We have a monthly delivery that does come in plastic bags (around 6-8) as we tried it without and it took forever to get it into the house. We then use those bags as bin liners when and if needed.

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  11. I have loads of bags under my seat in our mini bus which go straight back in after shopping. That way we have them with us whatever shop we go into. I also have two in a pocket of my handbag. Asdas give you the cheap ones free but they break after one load in them. You can buy better ones for 5p and when they break they give you another one for free which we sometimes do if we've got heavier items to carry. We to have a bag hanger on the back of our larder door and we put all spare bags in there. Wasting carriers bags is a bit of a pet hate of mine.

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  12. We use a combination of cotton/jute bags with plastics, which we re-use for shopping several times until they wear out. We also reuse them for bin liners, storing bread in freezer, muddy boots and all sorts of other purposes so they do get plenty of use before eventually being discarded. I do think charging for them is some kind of incentive to consider alternatives.

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  13. I too use my own reusable bags as I have been shopping at Lidl for many years now and they've always charged for bags. I note that M&S where I live are now charging 5p for plastic bags which was disconcerting at first, but is the right thing to do. I do sometimes forget the reusable bag or not have enough room in them, in which case I might take the odd plastic bag, but we always try to reuse them or recycle them at the supermarket.

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  14. Hi Sue
    We have to pay for bags here too and its been a great success. In the past the countryside has been 'decorated' with bright coloured plastic but since this introduction I have not seen a bag caught in a hedge or a tree. Which is brilliant. The rest of Ireland has had a bag charge since 2002 and its success has influenced the introduction here and in the rest of uk. I have to say I am a bit of a disaster in remembering to take my bags at times but mostly local shops have cardboard boxes that they let shoppers take away. I was speaking to an Indian man an he says that plastic bags and bottles have destroyed his country. There seems to be moves there to bring some kind of change too.

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  15. When I was a child and used to do the weekly shop with my Mum we each carried 2 of our own large shopping bags. Flip forward to now, I'm 57 and carry jute bags in the car boot, and one of the folding and zipping kind in my handbag. If I do need plastic bags for excess items those bags get used as kitchen bin liners.
    I do agree with shops charging, they started doing that where I holiday and it really made people think about how many bags they "needed'.

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  16. I have used bags for years and it is getting a bit more common in my province. Manitoba is trying to ban them so many stores there will charge for bags. I keep mine in my car too. They work much better. The plastic bags are very likely here not to make it to your car intact when they have groceries in them.

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  17. I have loads of bags in my car....I put some in hubby's car but he said they messed up his car...I found besides just not liking the plastic bags, they frequently had holes in the bottom where the plastic was not joined properly. People tell me proudly they get them and recycle them..why uses a bag ONCE and then put in a bin to be re-manufactured again?

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  18. Always used my own, even before it was 'trendy'. We have to buy plastic bags here too,but some people still can't be bothered to bring their own.
    Jane x

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  19. I'm going to stick my head above the parapet here and say that I often take supermarket carrier bags! There!.

    But in fact it's not quite as simple as that. I recycle so much that my general rubbish all goes in a small bin that fits under the kitchen sink and for which a supermarket carrier bag is the perfect liner. If I didn't use them I would buy bin liners. (actually Ireland found that its total imports of polyethelene didn't go down that much after the charge was introduced but sales of bin liners shot up). Bags which don't fit my bin I do refuse unless they are useful for something else eg the small Lakeland sturdy bags are perfect for my daughter to take her packed lunch in. And when I have enough carrier bags for my needs I go back to using jute bags for the supermarket shopping.

    Nothing irritated me more than when M&S used to say they didn't make any money from their carrier bag charge - if you look at the small print, they donate a very small amount which they claim is the profit. Well, without getting into arguments about how they cost it, they must be making money - because they have passed on a cost to consumers which they would otherwise have had to absorb

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  20. I have a large collection of rainbow coloured home made bags, including 2 that are just the right shape for long baguettes.
    I line all my bags to make them strong and have given the odd 1 or 2 away at the tills. I would love to see a charge of 20p on plastic carrier bags, this could go to local charities.

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  21. We always have a selection of boxes (ex-supermarket!) in the boot of the car for the tins and loose stuff, chill boxes for frozen stuff and milk, buy fruit and veg loose/in supplied recyclable boxes from the Greengrocery warehouse. We try and remember to take the hand-made or boughten linen shopping bags around town, but sometimes the brain is on the pillow along with the shopping list, and we have to buy a bag or two, but these always get used again and again in various guises.

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  22. I stopped using plastic bags 15 years ago when I saw a lady carrying her groceries in a handmade bag. Seemed such a lovely idea and I began to sew up a few . I now have a large stash in my car stored in a large bag made of recycled juice pouches which I purchased at a yard sale. If I do get the plastic bags, I collect them until I have a few and then donate them to a local food bank. Perhaps not as good as recycling, but people who use this bank do not have the luxury of making fabric bags. I too am amazed at the number of people who still use plastic. I wish the US would ban those. We also see them in the trees (my neighbor has had on in the top of his huge oak tree for 3 years), blowing down the street after garbage pickup, floating in the storm drains after a rain,etc. They are just nasty.

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  23. Like you Sue, I carry bags with me. I used to keep them all in my car, but then sometimes I would nip into the supermarket for something and realize I'd left my bags. Now I carr a couple of fold up nylon ones in my bag so I always have them with me. In Canada, most supermarkets charge for plastic bags now, but when we go into the States we notice that they are still given away freely and you see very few people using re-usable bags there.

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  24. I have my homemade bags in the boot of my car always and have done for years. Like you say hitting people in the wallet is the best way to change habits.

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  25. As a fabric/needlearts shop we encourage shoppers to use cloth bags - we've even held classes on how to make your own. Over the years we have given away many cloth or jute bags on occasion, and otherwise use 100% recycled paper gift bags, which customers love because they can just tie on a ribbon (we do that too) and give a gift without buying wrapping paper, tape etc. Most stores prefer to give out plastic bags because of the cost - plastic bags in 8x4x10 size cost me between 18 and 30 cents each, paper between 20 and 35 cents each, polypropylene $1.20 each, and burlap $1.84 each - and that's if I buy case lots! We love it when customers bring their own bags - we even give out free chocolates and other little goodies when they do. And I'd much rather by chocolates than bags!!

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  26. I have to say I rarely use the self check out. I think it puts someone out of a job, and if I am checking myself out, they should give me a discount!

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  27. I love using my own bags for ALL my shopping, whether groceries or not. I make pretty ones to give out as an extra gift at birthdays or to the kids teachers at the end of the year. I love that here in Australia using your own bags has been encouraged for more than 10 years although a lot of people still go for plastic. Aaargh! Some places charge for plastic bags and others, like my local grocery store don't charge for them but give you a discount on your groceries if you use your own bags. Gotta love that!

    xx Susan

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  28. Hi Sue , I also have bags for life from Italy and France and a few from England too. I have so many bags understairs , might have to recycle and I have two folding cloth ones in my handbag, England does charge for plastic bags, WHsmiths, Aldi and I think Marks and Spencers , and Asda I think .

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  29. Hello, it's me first time here so please feel free to edit/delete if you're not happy about this, but may I recommend http://www.morsbags.com? I've made over 500 bags to use & give away & had great fun doing so! And there's also the Japanese art of Furoshiki; you can tie a sturdy bag out of a square scarf in seconds in an emergency - a scarf takes even less room than a light bag in your handbag - as well as wrapping gifts without wasting paper or foil. Plenty of YouTube videos to show you how. Now I'm trying to find a way of folding newspapers to wrap our rubbish in, if my husband continues to insist on having newspapers...

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