Radical change is needed over plastic bag scourge '“ Blaise Tapp

I have always been more than a little envious of those committed folk who dedicate a large chunk of their lives to collecting stuff.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 4th January 2019, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:26 pm
Blaise has a mountain of plastic bags under his kitchen sink
Blaise has a mountain of plastic bags under his kitchen sink

We all know people who fill their box room with vinyl or those who own every replica football shirt produced for their team since 1984.

All I have to show for my childhood is a battered selection of Asterix books.

But things are changing as I am slowly but surely building up an almighty collection, housed beneath my kitchen sink. A mountain of plastic carrier bags.

It was little more than three years ago that most of the population welcomed the news that we would have to shell out 5p for single use carrier bags every time we went to the supermarket.

We took the hint, because 5p really is too much to pay for a thin piece of plastic that breaks the minute you fill it up with more than three tins of baked beans and a Fray Bentos pie. Since the charge was introduced in October 2015, it is estimated 15 billion of these flimsy carriers have been taken out of circulation, but we still collect the higher grade bags for life at an unhealthy rate, with latest figures revealing the major supermarkets sold nearly 1.2 billion of them in 2018.

The going rate for one of these more attractive bags is 10p, which is good value for the stressed shopper who has nipped to the shop without anything to carry home their hummus, family pack of avocados and half a dozen sausage rolls.

The latest study by the Environmental Investigation Agency reveals the average family acquires a staggering 44 bags each year.

We very rarely reuse these bags and it appears not even the thought of marine life struggling to survive in a sea of plastic can prompt us to remember to take a bag to the shops with us.

And it takes more plastic to create a bag for life than it does one of the inferior 5p bags, meaning the government's plan to double the cost of the cheaper bags is largely pointless. Maybe shoppers should be charged £1 for one of these superior bags? 

All else has failed so something radical needs to be done if we are to be prevented from becoming a nation of plastic bag collectors.