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Friday, July 19, 2013

Another lesson Wales can teach England

We are well used to teaching England some lessons (the Six Nations for example) though often we need to learn from the English experience as well, such as on health service outcomes, however today is one in which we can smugly look across Offa's Dyke and suggest that we are doing something right.

Radio Wales this morning reported that the 5p charge on plastic carrier bags in Wales has been a resounding success. There has apparently been an 81% reduction in their use here. In England the use of plastic bags has gone up.

The cultural differences between England and Wales are rapidly becoming more marked, rather like those in place when one crosses from Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic. That is most evident in supermarkets.

If I go shopping with my mother in England I am always astonished at the reckless abandon evident in the way they throw carrier bags our way. I am used to more frugal treatment.

Wales has shown that a charge can work, isn't it about time England followed suit? It really is an easy win for the environment.
I use my plastic bags from supermarket checkouts to line my small trash cans in my home office and bathroom. So I will have to buy the regular trash bags instead. Also, the check-out bags are very efficiently made - whereas cotton shopping bags require more energy to make - the cotton has to be farmed which requires machinery/energy, and harvested and driven to a cotton plant then energy is expended to process the cotton - by the time a cotton supermarket bag hits the shelves... and after a while it gets replaced with another cotton made shopping bag - so I'm not sure about the perceived energy saved. Since I recycle my supermarket check out bags where is the energy saving? In fact I will be using up more energy if I use cotton bags because now I will be buying replacement bin bags instead.

Wales could follow England and start and have feasible programmes of afforestation (for example).
~One good thing about the bag tax is that ones house is not cluttered high with plastic bags any more, one needs to not have mr.forgetful cap on!
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