Our Disposable Society


This morning there was an item on the news about the fact that here in the UK we’re now using twice as many plastic carrier bags this year as we were last year.  WTF?  Seriously?  They’re talking about charge for them in England from October of this year – why are they not already charging for them, especially in supermarkets?

I’ve been using bags for life and canvas bags for my supermarket shop for years now.  Years.  Whenever I go shopping for other items, I also use my canvas bags.  There are some items that won’t fit but if I have to take a store bag, I do my best to fit as much as possible into that bag and minimise the amount of bags that I end up with.

This whole climate change thing is not new.  Instead of talking everything to death, why can’t someone just grasp the bloody nettle and take some definitive action?  Charge for the bags now not in three months’ time!  If someone comes shopping and they’ve “forgotten” their bags to carry home their shopping – tough.  Charge them for the damned bags – their lack of organisation and forethought is not the shop’s responsibility.

How about collective responsibility:  “What can I do to make a difference?”  “I’m only one person” – I hear this sort of thing all the time.  A great one, said to me by a ex-colleague of mine, was something along the lines of “I’ll be long buried by the time any of this has an impact so why should I give a crap now?”.  Yeah.  Nice.  What about the daughter to whom your wife has just given birth?  What about her children?  I suppose you don’t give a crap about them either?  I suspect he’s not alone in this attitude: it seems to me that it’s always older people at the supermarket who have their own bags and the younger people who take a carrier bag for one sandwich.   Or one newspaper.  Where’s that bag going to end up?  Is it going to be reused?  No.  I thought not.

I don’t claim to be the greenest person in the world but I do consciously make an effort to recycle, reuse, repair and make do where I can.  Does it matter that any potential disastrous impact of global warming will not affect me in my lifetime?  No.  Why?  Because I actually give a shit about the environment and what I may be leaving behind when I’m dead and buried.  I’m very tired of the people who don’t think or care.

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