In October last year a 5p charge was introduced on carrier bags in England. This was because these single-use, disposable plastic bags were a blight on the environment; all ending up on landfill, polluting our cities. Except, now that they are chargeable items, we’ve all realised that plastic bags are not in fact single-use, disposable items – they are lifestyle essentials and we never knew it! They are used for bin liners, for transporting projects, homework and wellies to and from school, for protecting packed lunch pots of sloppy stuff and for ‘interim bins’ in places where there is no bin.
Now, 3 months in, everybody is running low. Schools are counting bags in and out, people are emptying out the bags in their bins and re-filling them and packed lunch habits are having to move with the times – all rather than pay 5p for a bag. It’s ruining retail therapy as well. No longer do you get the feeling of satisfaction from returning home from a successful shopping trip laden with multiple bags; now you just have your one, really heavy, fold up emergency cloth bag that contains everything you’ve bought which can include everything from clothes, shoes and make up to milk and eggs – all squished in together.
But not me, I am the bag lady. As soon as the 5p per bag charge came into effect my individual net worth tripled simply due to the number of bags stuffed in the cupboard under the sink. Plus, I have a constant supply, dedicated as I am to online grocery shopping which still comes in carrier bags unless instructed otherwise for a flat rate of 40p (I did once have it delivered without bags but that involved moving every item from the doorstep to the kitchen individually and the last thing you want is for the delivery man getting an eyeful of your chocolate binge fodder and ‘sanitary items’).
I am, of course, a woman of the people and happy to share my bags with those who need them (ie, people who are too tight to start buying proper bin bags): I am the plaggy-bag-go-to-girl, sharing the advantage of my foresight in stockpiling these essential items and distributing them to the needy (a lot like Joseph and his technicolour dream coat – might consider getting one made from plastic bags actually).
My evil plan is to establish my supply network, get them all hooked on free bags and then bam, hit them with a 3p charge (possibly 4p for an Ocado bag). Before you gasp in horror just consider how enterprising I am; it’s really just about supply and demand plus that’s still a 40% discount on the supermarkets so everyone’s a winner. Hey, I never promised bags for life!
Just need Argos and Ikea to start charging for their pencils and this time next year Rodney…