Bring back brown paper bags to save the world
Brown paper bags – that’s my contribution to the great green debate.
This solution popped into my head when I opened the cupboard door under the sink to be confronted with a mass of carrier bags growing at the rate of a B movie monster preparing to take over the world.
I try to re-use plastic bags, but when I opened that door I realised the point of no return had come. There was no way I could ever use that many carrier bags and for everyone I do re-use, another four seem to appear.
This is because you can’t buy anything these days without it being bundled into a carrier bag. Purchase an item you can carry in one hand and it is immediately thrust into a plastic bag – try and refuse the bag and you get the look that says ‘who is this lunatic?’
And before you suggest the bag-for-life approach, believe me I do that and still come back with another handful of unwanted bags. That’s because even if you trot off to Tesco clutching your sturdy pre-prepared shopping bags, you’ve still got to pop your vegetables into little see through plastic bags. And thus the carrier bag monster under the sink continues to grow.
Why is this happening? Plastic is terrible for the environment but we just can’t stop using more and more of it. Paper is easy to recycle but we’ve abandoned those friendly brown bags in favour of the carrier bag monster under the sink.
To test my theory I contacted the green expert Dave Hampton, aka the Carbon Coach. I asked him if supermarkets switching from plastic to brown paper would make a big difference.
He replied: ‘Yes, is the short answer. I think the world switched to plastic so they could be re-used more than paper. Then we forgot and binned them each trip. Re-use of bags is good too, better than recycling in fact - so a good strong shopping bag (like gran used to have) is a must.’
And don’t think this isn’t your problem. Our addiction to plastic is soon going to start costing us dear, as we won’t meet EU recycling and landfill targets, the Government will be fined and the taxpayer will end up footing the bill.
So before that happens shoppers should rise up and demand a brown paper bag revolution. Which supermarket do you think will have the nerve to go first?