Bags of change

On the 20th October Scotland introduced a 5p charge on single use carrier bags in an attempt to reduce waste.  A great initiative and one which is already in use in Wales and Northern Ireland and after just a month many retailers are reporting a 90% drop in carrier bag use – great news for the environment.

I have always used my own bags but there was always an occasion where I were rushing out the house and left the bags behind.  On a family holiday in North Wales  I came across the Welsh version of this scheme.  After a couple of days of forgetting the much needed bags and being subjected to the 5p bag charge I soon got in the swing of it and made sure I always had a bag with me.

It was with great zeal that I welcomed the Scottish scheme and so far I have managed not to be charged for a bag, and I am now on the look out for that perfect and versatile tote.

So you can imagine my confusion and consternation when on a recent visit to England the shop keepers where handing out bags to every shopper no questions, no charge – it was like some great giveaway.

With Scottish scheme in place for a month now plastic bags are already becoming a rarity something to be kept, treasured and reused – in comparison south of the border it was a polythene free for all.

The shock I felt being handed my goods in plastic bags really got me thinking about how this small change to daily life had been so quickly  absorbed to become second nature, something that you don’t question, it is just makes sense.

The statistic speak for themselves Scotland alone used a staggering 800 million single-use bags each year. And each year, council litter collectors picked up at least 7.4 million bags from our streets and surroundings.

England are due to introduce the scheme in 2015 and make the UK a nations free from the purge of the plastic bag.

With Christmas fast approaching householders with small children will be subjected to the excess of packaging as their little ones open their gifts to be met with layers of cardboard, plastic and metal ties. – perhaps in the future we may see this blight reduced.

But for just now lets welcome the bag charge and remember to pack your own reusable bag before you leave the house!

If you have found the perfect reusable bag I’d love to know as my search continues.