There is now a strong move by the EU to ban the provision to customers of plastic bags at the checkout. This is nothing new. The campaign has been in place for several years and many major supermarkets have invested heavily in encouraging customers to buy bags for life, but gradually as the recession has taken hold I have noticed that apart from one exception, bags are provided in the same way as before. In fact as I was reading the article about this I was having a coffee in a supermarket and watching the huge numbers of plastic bags being used by consumers. The argument is that a ban would further cause a problem to suffering retailers (for whom I have a lot of empathy) because shoppers wouldn’t make those impulse buys.
How hard is it though to remember to take shopping bags? Most people drive a car – put them in the car. If you have a handbag, carry a small fold up shopping bag in it, believe me it doesn’t take up much space. I don’t know about other countries but in France if you don’t take your own bags, you pay to buy one – and quite right too because most shoppers make sure they don’t forget their own reusable bags. Surely as consumers and occupants of this planet where our environment and wildlife are seriously affected by discarded plastic, particularly bags, we need to start taking some personal responsibility and not keep on expecting to have everything provided.