patentreporter (patentreporter) wrote,

Ur doin it rong: Plastic shopping bags Vs Plastic shopping bags (but thicker)-UPDATED


Ur doin it rong: The next installment….

So for those of you who do not live in South Australia, we have recently had a state government-implemented ban on thin plastic non-biodegradable bags for all supermarkets.  The basis of this ban has something to do with: too many bags going into landfill, the fact that once in the dump the never break down, the ones that are meant to break down do not do it very well or cause some other problem in the process, that most bags use non-renewable petroleum products and have a big-ass carbon footprint, oh and that plastic bags choke dolphins.

I have not seen any actual evidence for the majority of the above promoted reasons, but I am reasonably sure that some of them are true to some extent.  I am all in support for any change that addresses the problem and provides an improved outcome at an economical price.

So what it the logical solution to this vexing bag-lady of an issue?

I hear you thinking, paper bags, starch-based biodegradable bags, fiber bags or some other plant-based renewable material?

No, the answer in large as provided by the supermarkets is for the hapless and disorganized shopper to purchase a thicker woven plastic bag at the princely sum of $1 each.  So we have gone from a plastic bag to a plastic bag. What? Yes you heard me right. We have been told that these plastic bags will save the amount of plastic that would have been used in the old bags because they are reusable.  Well I used to use my old plastic bags (of which I am still working through the deliberate pre-ban stockpile) at least twice for storing things, garbage, cat poop/vomit or nappies.  We are told that we will get at least 10 uses out of each new bag.  Is this a case of yet more dodgy economic justification?

Well I can tell you I have not reached anywhere near that limit before the bags have accumulated holes, tears or the straps have clean broken off.  They have now become landfill.  Oh and did I mention that these new bags are made of very thick plastic that probably uses the same amount of plastic as found in hmmm 10 bags perhaps? The new bad guy is no different that the old bad guy except it costs the shopper significantly more and makes everyone feel like they are saving the Earth. The poor checkout employees has also had to suffer the large amount of the psychological burden as pissed shoppers vented their anger at the person least likely to have been complicit in the ban.

The supermarkets have made an absolute bucket-load of fast easy cash in these poor times out of these bags, as well as saved the outlay for the old plastic bags. They were the major lobby group behind the government instituting the ban.  The supermarkets will not publish figures on what their exact profits have been on these bags but several insisted that it had been a ‘cost neutral exercise’.  What a croc-o-shite. I am sure whatever marketing genius came up with the idea of user-pays-for-a-crap-solution-whilst-riding-on-the-environment-bandwagon, got a hefty bonus.

People have recommended that it is cheaper to buy a large roll of garbage bags at the same time and fill it with your shopping. These bags work out to be much cheaper than the $1 bags and do everything your old bags use to.

Alternatively, please please please bring on real solutions supermarkets... 
Where are all those bio-degradable bags you promised? 

I know that the first big steps that we make on the path to providing green solutions will be clumsy ones, and I am sure that these steps will get better with time and practice. I am just impatient with such obviously crap solutions to big problems.  I guess another thing I would like to see is some sort of independent review process which would include a full public disclosure with audit data and include the further provision for public comment prior to these changes becoming permanent.


Not a picture of me, not being euphoric. Honestly, I do feel like this every time I remember to take the bags with me from the car to the shop.

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