Forum: Charging for plastic bags not enough on its own

I refer to the letter "Charging model for plastic bags at supermarkets urgently needed" (Nov 16).

Unfortunately, introducing a fee for plastic bags wouldn't help the environment much.

Simply charging for a plastic bag without directing these funds into environmental or education programmes would not necessarily solve the problem.

Some elderly shoppers might forget to bring reusable bags with them, and to charge them might not be fair.

Moving to reusable options wouldn't stop people from discarding reusable bags, which have to be reused many times to be more environmentally friendly than single-use bags.

Also, if supermarkets were to charge for plastic bags, how consistently would that policy be applied? Would supermarkets make customers pay for the plastic bags that they tear off a roll to hold their loose fruits or vegetables? And what about the plastic on shrink-wrapped fruit?

Supermarkets need to work with supply chains to reduce the use of plastic packaging.

Without a change in consumer and supply chain attitudes, charging for plastic bags is one step forward and two steps back.

Supermarkets and retailers must work not only with suppliers, manufacturers and customers to solve the waste problem, but also with one another.

Justus Law

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