Friday, June 17, 2011

Further to those plastic bags

As readers of this blog know, HMG is still assessing the various aspects of EU involvement in the burning question of whether plastic carrier bags should be banned throughout its fair domain. It's as well that the EU's own decision making machinery is so slow and ponderous - after all, they still think they live in the 1950s - because evidence is coming in that the shibboleths of yesterday are the fishwraps of tomorrow.

Thanks to one regular reader I can link to an article that is, admittedly, several months old but is pertinent to the issue.
Unpublished Government research suggests the plastic carrier may not be an eco villain after all – but, whisper it, an unsung hero. Hated by environmentalists and shunned by shoppers, the disposable plastic bag is piling up in a shame-filled corner of retail history. But a draft report by the Environment Agency, obtained by the Independent on Sunday, has found that ordinary high density polythene (HDPE) bags used by shops are actually greener than supposedly low impact choices.

HDPE bags are, for each use, almost 200 times less damaging to the climate than cotton hold-alls favoured by environmentalists, and have less than one third of the Co2 emissions than paper bags which are given out by retailers such as Primark.

The findings suggest that, in order to balance out the tiny impact of each lightweight plastic bag, consumers would have to use the same cotton bag every working day for a year, or use paper bags at least thrice rather than sticking them in the bin or recycling.
I see the report has remained unpublished.


  1. I read an article recently that research has shown that reuseable cotten bags are also harbourers of various unpleasant bacteria which cause food poisoning - plastic bags are healthier!

  2. LMFAO.

    I find myself incapable of replying other than to say that I found the question 'have the Guardianistas redefined consumption to mean something specific about a functioning capitalist free-market' particularly amusing.

  3. I read an article, not so recently, reporting research that people exposed to potentially harmful bacteria were healthier over all than those who had been protected from them. Whom do you believe? I tend to the opinion that people are not so important, perhaps it's the atheist in me, but the countryside looks nicer, as do the towns, without the litter of discarded healthy options.

  4. I'm glad you still have a sense of humour, however unusual it is.

  5. "I tend to the opinion that people are not so important, perhaps it's the atheist in me..."

    What has a belief in the unimportance of people got to do with a lack of belief in the existence of a deity? I can see no theoretical difficulty with believing both, or neither, or just one or the other as they are not interconnected at all.

    "...the countryside looks nicer, as do the towns, without the litter of discarded healthy options."

    So you would ban something that is convenient to many (and possibly healthier than the alternatives) because a few inconsiderate souls leave them in places that offends your sense of aesthetics? If people are not so important, why would you care about the looks anyway? That would then just be the unimportant opinion of unimportant people; the birds and the bees don't give a damn what nature looks like.