Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Plastic bags will cost 5 pence from October 2014

coop bag

Degradable bag is apparently not biodegradable bag

I think I mentioned plastic bags and charges at least once before, when the Co-op indicated it was going to stop issuing them, or maybe charge for them (I can’t be bothered checking back), but when I was shopping there I noticed they never actually got round to doing anything, and I forgot all about it – and stopped using the place as it became so expensive compared to the surrounding shops.

This time, we now have Scottish legislation introducing a minimum charge of 5 p for single-use plastic bags, beginning October 2014, and the money collected to go to good causes.

Via: Scottish parliament backs plastic bag charge

That article (or rather the Environment Secretary) goes on to say Scotland alone uses 750 million of those bags EVERY year (and the entire population only numbers around 5 million).

I almost passed the story by without comment, as it seems a fairly obvious fix for a genuine pollution/waste problem, yet reading the comments area which follows some mainstream media sources that carried the story would seem to suggest otherwise, with some peculiar reasoning by some who see this as a bad idea.

All I can suggest is that they are lazy (can’t be bothered to plan ahead and carry a bag), are unable to work out for themselves that these bags are a problem at various levels (from manufacture through disposal), and have no idea of chemistry, since they think all that is needed is to make them all biodegradable.

That last pint is an interesting one, as it appears to show a failure to understand that what it referred to as a biodegradable bag is actually a photodegradable bag. After I tried to find some info on the process, it seems that degradable bags do so under the influence of light, not biological action, and if buried in landfill, in the dark, don’t break down. Potential life of non-degradable plastic bags is assessed at 500-1,000 years, but this is based on analysis as nobody has sat and watched one until the end. But it’s still going to be a long time, a very long time.

Even so, the hostile reaction of some has me wondering what we ever did before plastic bags (of any type).

Surely we didn’t use bags made of something else, and expect it to last for more than one trip?

The (single-use)plastic bag, and the response to being charged for it, or not being handed one by the shop at every visit, would seem to be an ideal subject for those who study human behaviour, and there might be some doctorates or grants on offer in a few years.

Incidentally, those old Co-op bags were fun, as they did commit suicide after as little as a year, but you could not tell which ones had gone, and which ones were still usable. While those well past their life just crumbled when touched, those which were degrading could appear to be strong enough for use, even if pulled tight, but would then completely ‘unzip’ with the slightest tear or nick, and split from side to side.


May 29, 2014 - Posted by | Civilian | ,

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