It’s a well-known fact that we don’t recycle enough in the UK, and that’s probably because we live such hectic lives and don’t want to be standing at the sink washing our aluminium tins and plastic yoghurt pots for the local council to collect. I find it staggering that 96% of the population would prefer to use bags available at the point of sale than to use bags from previous visits. This shows complete ignorance from the country, but are people really aware of the consequences when it comes to looking after our planet?

The Welsh Assembly Government came up with a controversial, but right, by-law in 2011 when they imposed a minimum charge of 5 pence on all bags sold by supermarkets and local shops in Wales. It has been estimated that a staggering 10,000,000 plastic bags have been saved from the use of people who would not have recycled them since that date with more people now than ever before begrudging the 5 pence charge when they pay for their shopping, thus making them recycle.

However, in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland the fiasco continues. Greedy shoppers go on destroying our planet by making use of the unlimited free bags they have available on their weekly shop with no need to worry about remembering them on their next trip or about the wildlife, landfill sites and harmful pollution that come as part of the free carrier bag baggage – if you’ll pardon the pun.

But with the Daily Mail reporting that just over half of the 43% of household waste we now recycle as a nation is actually put to good use, is there any point in going on taking our crumpled old bags to shops when we can get them for free? I certainly think so!

Of course, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) came back with a great response at the Mail’s article saying that “This is not true. The vast majority of the millions of tonnes of waste that is legally exported for recycling is dealt with properly and recycled into other products.”

So, will you take your old bags with you next time you do the weekly shop?


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