Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Charity pollution and plastic bags

Tied sackBefore venturing into the detail, I have to clarify the use of the word ‘Charity’ in the title. Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable in this case, since the problem does arise from the way legitimate charities keep pushing plastic bags, or sacks – appealing for old clothes and unwanted goods – through our doors, and how their initiative has been hijacked by crooks out to steal their donations by following the legitimate appeals with collections intended to collect the same items, with a sham claim of being part of some charitable operation, or just openly collecting the items for resale and profit.

The problem is the number of these appeals, and the amount of plastic bags, or sacks, that they produce which are just discarded in most cases.

One or two such appeals, perhaps made once or twice per year might be acceptable, but one has to wonder at the amount the average home is being expected to put in these sacks, as I counted 19 last year.

That’s a sack from some clothes or goods appeal arriving once every THREE weeks on average – and I suspect the number was greater in the past.

Each usually arrives folded in a small plastic bag printed with the details of the appeal, and this is waste and discarded.

While I keep the larger sack inside the small one (and say ‘Thank you’ for the free sack), I suspect most households just throw the whole lot in the bin, so wasting the material, inks, and energy consumed in manufacturing them. Not very ‘Green’, or environmentally friendly.

The table below shows the name of the organisation pushing these sacks through my door, and the number of time they did this during 2012:

Coping with cancer 3
British Heart Foundation 2
Ronald McDonald 2
Cancer Research & Genetics 2
Kidney Kids Scotland 2
British Red Cross 1
Childline 1
Tree of Hope 1
Cancer Recovery 1
Clothing Collection 1

I’m sure some will choose to misread this post, and take it as attack of some sort on the real charities that at listed, but all I am doing is pointing out the waste.

It could be done in a better way.

For example, there’s no good reason for delivering these sacks heat sealed into a little plastic bag (some arrive rolled up, with a rubber band holding a printed paper note, but that’s probably not much better) – the sacks could be folded in such a way that they formed a self-closing rectangle, and the organisation’s details and the details of the appeal could be printed on the area that remains visible after folding. This would remove the need for the plastic bag used for delivery, eliminating the waste of material and need for a packing and heat-sealing machine – the latter being replaced by the folding machine.

I haven’t bothered to look at the organisations dropping these sacks off, to see which are genuine and which are bogus, or merely profit oriented (and I am not giving anyone like that my stuff for free if they are going to make an unshared profit from it!), but as they arrive this year, I might have a closer look at them, and repeat this ‘End of Year’ summary next year, with a bit more detail.


January 7, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , , , ,

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