The carrier bag law: what happens next?

Plastic bagsIt won’t have escaped anyone’s attention that a levy on plastic carrier bags has finally been introduced in England (way behind Scotland and Wales), requiring customers to pay 5p if they don’t bring their own bag (except in mildly obscure circumstances – flowers or prescription medicines, anyone?).

As a sandal-wearing, Guardian-reading leftie I’m very pleased – long overdue and it won’t take long for it to totally change our daily mindset.

However, I’ve had a couple of additional thoughts about what happens next…

Will supermarkets replace plastic bags with anything?

Anyone who has watched US TV will know that across the Atlantic, paper grocery bags have long been used for shopping. Obviously, many Americans drive to out-of-town stores and dump their bags in the boot of the car, but I wonder if any British supermarkets might consider this.

When will clothing retailers swap plastic for paper?

Many of the more upmarket clothing stores have been using paper bags for a while. However, it smarts slightly when you spend in excess of £50 on items of clothing and then are charged an extra 5p for the ‘plastic’ bag that the store uses to put your purchases in.

The retailers have to take responsibility to make a change, as much as the consumer.

What happens to the extra profit supermarkets will now make?

Whether it’s from the 5p levy per bag, or money they save from having to manufacture thousands and thousands of plastic bags, all the major supermarkets will suddenly make more money than before.

I’m keen to find out if they have considered donating this money to good causes – specifically eco-charities such as Friends of the Earth.

What do we do with used cat litter?

Final thought is rather selfish, but we’ve long used plastic bags (amassed as a result of online deliveries) to help dispose of use cat litter. The stash is rapidly diminishing and we’re not sure what to do once it runs out. Nappy bags?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated on the latter 🙂

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