Plastic bags are not evil
Friday, 06 June 2008 13:23

February 2008 Gordon Brown says . . .

'The damage that single-use plastic bags inflict on the environment is such that strong action must be taken.

If government compulsion is needed to make the change, we will take the necessary steps.'

GB needs to wake up to the real issues and stop looking for things that he thinks will be popular. We can all see another stealth tax coming here in the form of a levy on plastic bags.

When will he realise that Tesco bags are not evil, there are far more wasteful uses of plastics and other resources but he doesn't want to stop them.

Let's look at some facts about plastic bags and their use

The accepted figure for plastic bag use is 13 billion a year in the UK. They weigh 7 grams each, which makes a total use of 91000 tonnes of plastic. That sounds a lot, but let's try to put that into perspective against other uses of plastics.

Here are some examples . . .

Yoghurt pots

muller fruit corner yoghurt pot 9 grams of plasticA Tesco plastic carrier bag weighs in at 7 grams.

Muller fruit corner yoghurt containers use 9 grams for the pot, plus the lid and the box or wrapper.

In the UK 1.3 million yoghurts are discarded every day by supermarkets because they are past their sell-by date. That means almost 12 tonnes of plastic is binned every day, amounting to over 4000 tonnes of plastic a year.

That means 4% of the plastic used in all carrier bags is wasted by outdated yoghurts.

Mushroom containers

mushroom container

Most supermarkets sell mushrooms in plastic trays which are wrapped in clear plastic film. 750 grams of mushrooms came in this container that weighs 33 grams. Another striking example of un-necessary packaging.

Drink bottles

plastic drink bottles

The most amazing waste of resources. These come in all sizes and waster incredible amounts of plastic, in this image are various bottles

250 ml plastic bottle weighs 20 grams (equivalent to 3 Tesco bags)

500 ml plastic bottle weighs 29 grams (equivalent to 4 Tesco bags)

1 litre plastic bottle weighs 59 grams (equivalent to 8 Tesco bags)


Gordon Brown is guilty of headline grabbing by concentrating on plastic carrier bags. They are only one type of plastic use, there are far more wasteful things like single-use plastic bottles.

What the UK needs is sensible, joined-up thinking about recycling, not more stealth taxes presented as 'green' taxation. We all know that taking our money is the real objective. 

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