Frugal Family

Goodbye Plastic Carrier Bags

Plastic bags suck. Ok, they carry your shopping from the store to your house and they make great bin liners but that’s about all they do that is any actual good. Plastic bags quite often split on us, spilling our groceries across the carpark but they also ruin our lovely planet earth. I’m sure if we all took a 1/2 mile long walk down the road, most of us would spot a used carrier bag soggy in a gutter or a bag entangled into a tree branch somewhere along our journey. Not only does this look gross but its also making the planet very sad.—planet.html

A staggering 8.3 billion carrier bags were used last year in the UK, and while Scotland introduced the carrier bag tax back in 2014 the number of single use carrier bags being used has dropped by 80%! I like you, Scotland.

Why we need to scrap the bags

According to HMRC England alone produced 177 millions tonnes of waste last year. This costs businesses and YOU money. The money you pay as tax is used to clean up these bags. From litter pickers in the streets to running landfill sites, this is what costs us money.

The less bags that we all use, the less tax will be spent cleaning up these flimsy horrible things. We need to start thinking about creating a ‘Zero waste society’. Of course, creating zero waste is actually pretty much impossible, but we need to work together to create a much greener space for us to live in.

When we are long gone, our children and grandchildren need a nice planet to live on. If we carry on living in such a ‘disposable society’ as we do now, our future does not look very pleasant at all. We NEED to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can, else we shall very quickly have a crisis on our hands (and in our water supplies, our electricity supplies, our farm land and our dinner plates… you get the picture).

I have started sewing my own bags from old pillow cases, t-shirts and bed linen. If you’re not handy with a sewing machine, don’t fret. Many people like to use eco-friendly jute shopping bags. They hold loads and last for years!

What you need to know

From October 5th 2015, England will introduce a Carrier Bag Tax. You shall be charged 5p for every carrier bag that you buy from a large shop (smaller independent shops will be exempt, but may opt in if they wish to). If you want to save money, buy a ‘bag for life’ that many supermarkets now offer in store by the tills. These bags will not literally last you a lifetime, but when your Bag For Life splits or can no longer be used, simply take it into store and swap it for a new one! Easy.

Start saving carrier bags now. Don’t bin your bags when you get home from shopping (not that you should have been before-hand), tuck them away and save them for when the Bag Tax is in place. Buy some nice heavy duty canvas bags, or a ‘granny trolley’, treat yourself to a nice new rucksack, or maybe have a go at sewing or knitting your own new bags. You could try sewing a bag from an old t-shirt or bed linen, meaning you save even more money and recycling too!

Chances are, we will all forget to take a carrier bag with us when the new tax starts, and we shall get caught out at some point. But, we will soon get used to it. We will cope. It wont be the end of the world. We will be creating a nicer living environment.

Start by shoving a couple of carrier bags in the boot of your car or at the bottom of your handbag now. They don’t take up much space at all if you fold them properly, and when October 5th comes around you will be prepared!

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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