We’re still using too many plastic shopping bags

woman_walking_shopping_cart_1600_wht_8020According to the latest research we each used 140 plastic bags last year and have 40 stashed away at home.

The number has increased every year for the last five years. Each of us took 11.7 bags per month, up on 10 the previous year, and the total now stands at 8.5 billion.

England is the only part of the UK where you don’t have to pay for your bags (with some exceptions e.g. Aldi and Marks and Spencer).

Wales introduced the 5p charge in 2011 and shoppers there use only 2.1 a month. In Northern Ireland which began charging in 2013 shoppers use1.6 a month. In Scotland, which started charging last October, consumption has already dropped 80%.

For some reason England is being different, some might say difficult about this as there are exemptions for smaller shops and for paper bags  – which are charged at the same rate as plastic bags elsewhere in the UK.

The Minister for Waste Rory Stewart said “We’re all guilty of taking a carrier bag from a supermarket, storing it somewhere safe at home with the intention of using it again, then forgetting to take it with us when we go shopping“.

I have a car boot full of re-usable bags I have bought from various supermarkets but invariably forget to take them into the store with me as I think I’m only going to buy one thing and I won’t need a bag!

I’ve posted on this before some years ago and also about its impact on the environment. At  last it’s finally going to happen here in England

Being Virtuous can make you Fat

walking_with_shopping_bags_1600_wht_5497Researchers at Harvard and Duke Universities have found that using re-usable bags for your supermarket shopping can influence your shopping behaviour.

People with re-usable bags were not only more likely to buy organic food but also to stock up on junk food.

Grocery store shoppers who bring their own bag are more likely to purchase organic produce and other healthy foods. But those same shoppers often feel virtuous because they are acting in an environmentally responsible way. That feeling can easily persuade them that they should treat themselves to cookies or potato chips” said the authors of the study.

They examined loyalty cardholder data from which they could see when the shoppers had used their own bags. They were more likely to buy junk food on those occasions.

This is not the only example of when people reward themselves for virtuous behaviour. A recent study of people exercising while on a diet showed that they rewarded themselves by binge eating. It seems as if we have a rewards balance sheet where we allow ourselves an unhealthy but enjoyable treat when we have done something good.

I look forward to further research in this field. Would helping an old lady to cross the road or giving to charity make you pop into the fast food shop next door?

The Travails of a Male Shopper………………

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Every week I go to the supermarket to stock up with food for the coming week.


I carefully select my food and then head for the checkout where, if I am lucky there may only be two or three people in the queue

I stand patiently whilst people are served and then the “red mist” descends over me as I watch the woman being served pack all her groceries and then decide to look for her purse so that she can pay.

This requires an operation of such magnitude that it puts the D Day planners to shame, she will invariably carry a massive handbag and then spend God knows how long looking through the different pockets in the bag trying to track down her purse.

queues_0This in itself is a major exercise as the bag will have numerous zipped pockets but she will be convinced that she knows which…

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