Monday, August 07, 2006

Bring your own

My dad rang Friday while I was at Borough Market to let me know he'd just heard on the radio that Tesco were going to reward customers who brought their own bags in which to pack their shopping. I think he thought I'd be pleased.

Against my better judgement I do use Tesco when I have to but I do use my own bags. My mum has caught onto the idea of reducing rather than recycling but she doesn't do the shopping. She writes the list and dad duly toddles off to Sainsbury's. She kept trying to send him with bags but he forgets them. I found a collection in the front garden on a recent Sunday morning visit - she'd thrown them at his departing back.

Dad explained to me you'll get a clubcard point for each bag you took with you. I quite bluntly took the wind out of his sails by pointing out I snapped my clubcard in half quite some time ago.

Saturday's financial pages in the Guardian had a complete article on the issue. It made me quite livid.

Germany has charged for carrier bags for as long as I can remember. Ireland, likewise, has a 10p tax on plastic bags. This has reduced demand by 93% over four years. That's some saving on the 1.2bn handed out willy-nilly previously.

Our supermarkets and government do not have the balls to make a similar decision and so it is up to us environmentally-minded consumers to try and make a difference. I haven't regularly used bags from the supermarket for nine or ten years. I am really quite proud of my motley collection. Here are just a few.

Spitalfields Sunday Market

Bought new from Amnesty it doesn't have a beetroot stain.

'Christmas stocking' from Mum. Pound shop. Admired by the server in Neal's Yard.

Romford's Sunday Farmers' Market.


pat said...

bugger was going to post on the 4 billion bags that tescos give out in a year.
an awful lot of bags, but then they do account for £1 in every £8 spent in the uk.
they are only planning on giving the point at the cashiers discretion.
a little like sainsburys who used to give a 1p back for each of your own bags you used. they more often than not forgot to give me my 1p.

i am a little like your dad. i try to remember to reuse and recycle the bags. and i have a very large collection of "bags for life" and i keep adding to them as i buy a new one to keep in my bag when i go to work.

making people pay for their bags might work - or the supermarkets realise that all that will happen is some arsehole will steal the trolley and leave it somewhere as an eyesore.

see i have faith in my fellow man (and woman...)

coolbuddha said...

That is a very fine collection of bags. As was mentioned on BBC Breakfast last week, why don't Tesco practice what they preach when it comes to its home delivery service?

ems said...

Pat, it'd still be cheaper to pay for the carrier bags than steal the trolley. £1 deposit in this neck of the woods.

Buddha - a friend used to have deliveries from Tesco but couldn't bear the fact everything seemed to come wrapped in its very own carrier bag and gave up on the idea. I did think of you and your deliveries. Returnable crate?