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A ‘bag for life’? Yes, but not in a good way

January 4, 2010

I can’t be the only person who thinks that the whole ‘bag for life’ (of the plastic variety) idea is a bit of a con and simply a marketing gimmick.

Yes, I suppose that anything that encourages people to re-use plastic bags is a good thing. But they’re not for life in shopping terms – one sharp corner and you’ve torn it (both literally and figuratively). And what do you do with it then?

Well, you either recycle it or it ends up in landfill, where it really is around for a lifetime and more. Here, it will photodegrade (not biodegrade), breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, and damaging the natural environment.

Surely it would be much better to offer cotton bags instead? Germany has banned plastic bags for years, offering shoppers this option in their place. These are stronger and will biodegrade, although there are of course issues surrounding their production.

And I still haven’t forgotten being urged by a particular chain of shops (Boots, I think) to ‘be environmentally friendly – choose a smaller carrier bag’! I don’t know if it still suggests this, but that has stuck in my mind as one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read.

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