Saturday 6 January 2007

134 plastic bags before the end of the year
So all you Brit readers will be using 134 plastic bags each before the year is out. That's a disgrace. I hereby have a gloating opportunity to feel righteous. Here in France, nearly every major supermarket chain no longer hands out free plastic bags. You have several alternative choices:
- get a few of those "bag for life" bags for €1.50 (about £1) each and remember to leave them in the car boot for the weekly shop
- buy a biodegradable bag each time you go shopping. I think these cost about €0.30.
- stick all your shopping in your trolley, then in your car boot, loose and unbagged. Not recommended if you bought eggs.
- you get the idea.
And I think this is highly commendable. Some other major non-grocery retail chains are also jumping on the bandwagon.

Also commendable is the clothing retailer Zara and perfume chain store Sephora - they give you a free bag, but it's made from paper. Better.

Of course, cynics will say that the decision to stop giving out free plastic bags is a financial one. Certainly is. This decision will save the supermarkets and other retailers heaps of cash. And not only the savings of not having to buy the bags, they won't have to pay to have the bags driven from warehouses to their stores in trucks, and they won't have those storage costs to foot either. And they can be righteous in their greenness. And us shoppers can also feel righteous in our greenness. Winners all round.

As far as I know, the only retailer to do this in the UK is Ikea. And they get accused of being cheap. Maybe this policy does save money for them, but it also helps the planet. So free yourselves from plastic bag addiction now. Every little helps, right?

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