It’s in the bag

For some time, now, we have been admonished not to use disposable plastic carrier bags. The supermarkets’ response to this has been to come out with a range of inexpensive multiple use bags (some of which are really nice – I like the classic Tesco hemp-like bag, myself), while discouraging customers from using the disposable bags. Tesco does this by offering additional loyalty points for bag re-use; M&S does it by charging a ridiculous amount for the disposable alternative; Morrisons does it by making the bags so small and thin, they are virtually useless.

So riddle me this. While all of this is going on, why am I received more and more cheap plastic bags through my letterbox, with requests for clothes donations from everybody from the Sally Army to Save the Children? In the last week, I have received 9 sack sized plastic bags, and this is not exceptional. That is far more plastic than I would have ever have used in carrier bags before I started carrying a “for-life” shopping bag.

I am sympathetic to the charities, but few people could possibly have so many clothes that they can have a clear-out every week. My solution, uncharitable though it seems, is to stop buying bin bags, and to line my kitchen bin with the charity bags instead. I seem to have an endless supply, and if anything they are better quality.


  1. July 5, 2011

    Tesco’s ‘disposable’ plastic bags aren’t multi-use, they deteriorate quickly (into little flakes of plastic which are hell to get out of clothes and carpets and anything else). I use the Morrisons ones which are multi-use, I can get months of use out of one of their plastic carrier bags. I find the hemp ones are made in a strange shape which I find not very useful.

    Lidl (and I think Aldi) do good cotton or other natural fibre bags which are a useful shape (for things like my nMC folder!), I think they are the same as the German stores sell.

    As for the charities, I seem not to get them very often. But yes, tey do seem to have missed the point rather…

    • chris
      July 5, 2011

      Wasn’t saying Tesco’s disposables *were* multi use. What they reward is the reuse of *any* bag. Your Morrisons must have different bags to mine – my local store have bags that will physically hold little more than a box of cornflakes, and would probably break under the strain.

      The Tesco hemp bags are especially good for safely toting board games about. A number of my gaming group use them for that!

      • July 5, 2011

        That’s my problem with the reuseables, right there. They are so very useful for everything else… I’ve got hemp bags as a “busking bag” (Pignose, tuning things, strings, signs, foldup stool etc.), a knitting bag, a teaching bag… It’s reached the point where I can never find a bag to put my shopping in, because the others are too darned useful…

        • July 5, 2011

          I’ve had to be Stern about that, and have designated a certain number of bags (of varying shapes/sizes) as ‘shopping’ bags, not to be used for knitting or other storage. Though one does often get used as an extras bag when I go to archery, for my food, knitting, newspaper, sunglasses/suncream etc.

      • July 5, 2011

        All the Morrisons bags I’ve had happily hold 9 or 12 bottles of drink (so up to 6kg) with no sign of strain (or they hold other things, of course). I don’t think I’ve had one give way yet.

        Yes, the cloth bags are useful for all sorts of other things, but less useful for actually taking to the shop I find (won’t fit in any of my pockets).

  2. July 5, 2011

    Many many years ago (possibly when I moved into this flat with its tiny kitchen with nowhere to put a rubbish bin) I invested in one of those ‘bin bag holders’ that goes inside a kitchen cupboard, in my case the one under the sink. And I used to rely on supermarket carriers to use in it – that’s what it was designed for! I was ever so proud of my recycling mojo.

    Now, of course, I almost never get any supermarket carriers, so I have to *gasp* … BUY bin bags for it!

    I’ve got more multi-use bags than I can count. Some of them get used for shopping; others for holding knitting projects, archery gear, recycling stuff, etcetera…

  3. July 5, 2011

    I mostly shop online, and so get too many bags – although they do take them away to recycle.

    And yes – we get at least 5 fake ‘charity’ bags a week. Not much use as they usually have air holes in them.

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