Plastic is Not So Fantastic

carrier bag charge

The new plastic bag charge makes me explore my dexterity!

Take 1 yogurt, 1 punnet of strawberries, 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 tube of tomato puree, 1 packet of biscuits, 6 eggs, 6 bananas, 1 tin of coffee, 1 pack of bagels, your usual washing powder (it was half price!), and try to carry all without a bag.

You’ll find spaces under arms, sleeves, chins, and cradle the rest, and while it is just possible, it’s not really ideal! But it helps towards saving the planet…. Let me explain.

Ever since the plastic carrier bag charge has come into force I am often seen contorting myself carrying an array of supermarket items. This isn’t a choice, or a new fad, it’s because I loathe buying plastic bags.

In the beginning

It all started when we moved into our new house, (yes, this one with the fab garden haven). We did what all new home owners do and picked one of our new cupboards to be the official ‘bag cupboard’. It was on this day we also chose the ‘messy drawer’, but that’s for another post.

We thought we wouldn’t really use the bag cupboard much because we’d be virtuous and take bags with us to the shops. RP was very apt at doing this already, but I needed a little more training, so I celebrated by buying a huge carry-all Star Wars bag. Well, if we were doing this, we may as well do it with style!

The cupboard soon became exactly what we intended it to be for, the bag cupboard. We unpacked shopping, folded the bags, put them into the cupboard.

It struck me as I pushed a bag into the cupboard one day that the fit was becoming a little tight. Hmm, I thought, but still shut the door and continued to unpack shopping. Ooh, fresh strawberries!

The straw that broke the camel’s back

A few weeks later, as I went to push another bag into the cupboard, I stopped and peered in. There wasn’t a single space left for a bag, no matter how crumpled up and small we tried to make it.

I was horrified!

Like most people, we would also use carrier bags as bin bags when the need arrived.

However, now we’d moved into a house we had a vast array of supplied recycling bins, so carrier-bag-bin-bags were a thing of the past. The bags were sitting, albeit packed very neatly, in their new home with no forward purpose planned for them.

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as they say. “Right!” I declared, “that’s it, no more buying bags at the supermarket, it ends now”. I looked around for the surprised faces and cries of protest but the kitchen was empty. The television sounded in the distance and further away still, pop music played from the upstairs bedrooms. “It ends now,” I called into the living room, and I heard a grunt from RP, engrossed in CNN.

I collected a huge bunch of bags and marched them out to the car. “We just need to get into the habit,” I said to Poppy, who had followed me out. At least someone was listening.

Habits old and new

Suitably shamefaced by the jammed full cupboard, I made a vow to never buy a bag again. No matter the circumstances. No, I would practise caution when shopping. I would study each item and think, “Do I have the bags for this?” I would not cave in and spend the required 20p on two plastic carrier bags. It wasn’t about the money, it was the principle. It was helping to save the planet.

And so, I found myself this morning with the above items secured about my person, in lieu of a carrier bag. As I waddled slowly out of the shop, and in between thoughts of “Go slower” and “Isn’t it remarkable what you can fit in a gift bag”, I caught sight of myself in the shop windows.

I was bent over, arms clamped tightly to my torso, with a look of concentration lest a Golden Delicious roll free and be lost. I have to say, dear reader, I have never been prouder of myself!

View the wonderful bags we have in the DC Thomson gift shop. Reusable, packable and light, they’re perfect for shopping trips.




Karlie Simmonds

Karlie has worked in Digital Media for over 10 years, she is passionate about health and wellbeing and lives in Edinburgh with her partner, children, and Pug, Poppy.