Last month English shops started to charge their customers 5p for a single-use plastic bag. This has caused some consternation on my Facebook Feed, with several people leaving shops all but balancing their purchases on their heads, while praying that nothing falls and breaks. While others bemoan the fact that they’re having to buy bin liners, rather than use the plastic bags they accumulated from their weekly shop.
I have to admit that it’s all left me feeling a little smug. After all, we’ve had a whole extra year to get used to the 5p charge, which means we’ve had a whole extra year to come up with ways of dealing with the situation. When the 5p charge came in, there was consternation here too. Many of us already took our reusable bags to the supermarket: it was when out shopping for items other than groceries that we were relatively unprepared. So here are my top three ways for surviving the 5p bag charge.
Keep lots of Bags For Life in your car. If you drive to the supermarket, or anywhere that you might possibly buy something, keep some bags in your car. Every time you go to your car, bring a bag for the boot. Like a present. That way you don’t have to remember to bring your bags when you leave the house. Because if you’re anything like me, it’ll be enough to remember why you’re leaving the house in the first place, never mind remembering to bring extra items like shopping bags.
Keep a bag in your handbag. Yes, a bag in a bag. A bit like a bird in a bird, but more useful when you’re out and about. It’s all very well if you know you’re going shopping, but how many times do you make a random, unplanned purchase when you’re out and about? Lots. So you need a bag in your bag. You could make it a plastic bag if you want, but personally I find they take up a lot of room, and look a bit shabby. There are lots of lovely, stylish canvas totes that fold up to nothing and can sit, quite happily, at the bottom of your handbag, patiently waiting until you buy something. And if your handbag’s a bit on the small side, you can get pretty nylon bags that fold up into a tiny rectangle (or fish, or strawberry, or some other random thing) and weigh practically nothing. Some of them come with hooks that you can use to attach them to the inside pocket of your handbag, making them easier to find. Bonus!
This is my bag in a bag today 🙂
Shop at Ocado. If all else fails, and you really absolutely have to buy a 5p bag, I’ve heard that Ocado will take it from you and credit your account with 5p. Of course you have to shop there first.
But don’t worry, carrying bags around with you will soon become second nature, and you’ll have a lovely collection of canvas, jute, and nylon bags for any occasion. And when you visit a country that hands out plastic bags willy-nilly, you’ll be shocked at how extravagant they are. While shoving as many bags as you can into your suitcase to use when you get back home.