16 Mar 2008
What a topic! it grieves me so much to see endless aisle of people at supermarkets being loaded with new waste recepticles when only a few days earlier they got identical ones...got home unpacked and through them in the bin. In South Africa where i've been living for a while now ALL shops have to compulsory charge for plastic bags and its such a pleasure seeing people at the till getting out their old and saved ones to use time and again. The system works but the state and retailers are behind it. Another pet hate with plastic bags is the fact that if you put anything heavy in them they 1) either split or 2) end up getting so thin they end up like plastic wire that cuts into your hand! But what i'd like to know more about is what are the alternatives...is using a paper bag (pictured) better?.....doesn't that come from a rainforest that we're not meant to be cutting down? and is recycyling a plastic bag easier/cheaper than recycling a paper one? does the concept of home delivery in crates thus eliminating their use all together win the day or do we then get stung by using a fossil fuelled vehicle to get them there? My heart is in the right place just need more of a cohesive understanding on whats best hence my love for your site and what your doing. Keep up the good work any feedback would be apreciated.
20 Aug 2008
Some years ago I was in the plastic Bag industry, as an electrical tech, building new bag making machines. At the time the plastic bag industry was in a bit of turmoil because the plastic they were making could not be re-cycled. After retuning from an overseas plastic manufacturers conference our MD returned with a surprise.
He produced a glass of water put a small quantity on a solution in the water.
Then put in a small piece of plastic, after a while it completely dissolved in the water.
The 'new plastic film' was dissolvable in water, depending on the % quantity of the solution in the plastic at the manufacturing stage, a time period when the bag was exposed to water could be set.
This was a great way to solve the 'then problem' it still could be now.
BUT WHO CAUSED IT'S DOWN FALL, THE SUPERMARKETS! THEY REFUSED TO HAVE THE BAGS, So now if you have a problem with paying the 'bounty' being put on the bags by the government, LET THE SUPERMARKETS PAY IT, THEY MAKE ENOUGH OUT OF US ON THE SO CALLED CHEAP PETOL!
05 Sep 2008
I agree, there are many new materials that offer the potential to solve this problem. We should be able to put absurd amounts of packaging on all food products, use vast quantities of plastic bags, and not harm the environment.
"If we stopped making guns, all the arms manufacturers would go out of business too. If we stopped using coal as fuel, all the coal miners would be out of work. So we continue to destroy the environment to keep people in jobs? Or do we support their retraining and reskilling into alternative employment?"
I certainly agree that employment/economy need to be put firmly AFTER mitigating climate change, however, I think that it is possible to have both solutions. I don't agree with banning plastic bags primarily because I believe such initiatives do cause a genuine inconvenience to people; instead, insist on ecofriendly/degradable polymers being developed/used.
A better way to tackle plastic bag usage is to tax/charge supermarkets for their overal ecological footprint. Every time I see branded supermarket packaging littering the countryside I would like to see that supermarket held to account financially. The current responsibility is, rather conveniently, firmly directed at the consumer, you can bet supermarkets would find a solution rather rapidly for plastics pollution if they were heavily fined each time non biodegradable litter was found.
In short, supermarkets would be far more keen to avoid the massive overuse of packaging if they were hit financially for the resulting environmental impact.
19 Sep 2008
Hi that would not work, any charge to the supermarkets will be passed on to the customer.
the surcharge on plastic bags is being tried here in Victoria Australia. and it is already upsetting people and there is 'extra charge' being put on to the goods pay for the '4cents off' and is is noticeable, like $A40 to $A 50 on to a shop valuing $A200, this was last week.