Today's Guest Blog is by 'Scourge'. It takes a contrarian look at the 'No Plastic Bags' campaign, points out some forgotten history and questions whether or not we're losing sight of some of the dangers inherent in preferring to re-use.
“No mummy, you can’t use one of those,” shrieks little Nettle in disgust as mum takes the plastic bag from the check-out assistant. Guiltily mum takes one or three, apologising to the assistant because she’s ‘forgotten’ to bring her knit-your-own shopping bag. Nettle had made it for her as an assignment in her obligatory eco-brainwashing class at school. Mum is ashamed she doesn’t carry it with her always. She turns red-cheeked to face the queue behind to explain her brain fade in case they think she’s ‘the worst mum in the world’. Oh the horror!
This blame and shame culture is rife, perpetuated in the schools as part of the much wider political agenda.
But wait! Is there really any need for mum to feel this way?
Today the scare mongering is about the ‘environment’. In the 60s it was about stopping the spread of disease. It was a very persuasive argument. Outbreaks of infectious diseases were far more common then. They are less common now partly because of the success of single use plastic bags.
The explosion in the use of plastic bags coincided with the advent of supermarkets, family cars and weekly shopping. The daily trudge to the grocer, greengrocer and butcher rapidly became a thing of the past. People forgot the shopping bag. It’s only the over seventies who now remember. It’s only the over seventies who’ve habitually returned to using their shopping bags. If others use them they do so because they’ve been made to feel guilty and are keen to show their ‘green’ credentials.
Well you can stop feeling guilty right now.
According to a new study from researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University, “Assessment of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags,” found that nearly all (97%) of shoppers who use reusable bags do not regularly (if ever) clean them. Furthermore, most of us freely mix meats, vegetables, and other foods in the same bag, and don’t think twice about it.
Before you stop using those plastic bags think about the possible consequences. Think about what the person ahead of you in the queue has left behind on the counter from the bottom of their bags. They might not be as conscientious as you at washing them.
Above all stop being made to feel guilty by your child. Give little Nettle a lesson in the dangers of bacterial diseases and how there’re spread. There's not a lot of point in 'saving the planet' if all the people are dead from some pandemic disease. Remind her that cleanliness is next to Godliness, and leave her with the message that it's better to be clean than green.
Several commentators have asked me to publish their blogs on my site. The blogs on this page are not my own nor do they necessarily reflect my views. However, I do believe there is a need for a place where differing voices to those allowed in the local media can be expressed.