We all know that single use plastic is bad! They are made from fossil fuels, they take huge amounts of energy to make, they may not be recyclable, and may end up in rivers and oceans causing real problems for the creatures that live in them.
But here is some food for thought.
In 2015 a ban on the provision of free single use carrier bags in retailers of a
certain size in the UK came into effect. This resulted in the rapid and widespread adoption of reusable ‘bag for life’ alternatives, and the use of single use carrier bags dropped correspondingly by more than 90% in the. UK.
This seems like a great success, but it’s reported that in 2019 alone, UK supermarkets sold enough bags for life for every household in Britain to have 57 each!
This isn’t good news for the environment. Bags for life typically contain more than three times as much plastic as a single use carrier bag and therefore have a significantly larger environmental footprint. To achieve environmental parity with single use carrier bags, bags for life typically need to be reused between 37-57 times. The fact that consumers are buying reusable bags so frequently suggests that this isn’t happening in the majority of homes
So what is the right thing to do? Reuse the bags you already have as many times as you possibly can