Here is a list of all of the good reasons for continuing single-use plastic bags: I hate the environment and I wish to make a particularly flashy point about it and show them greenies who’s boss. Of, you know, the bags.
However, we live in the timeline where objectively positive things galvanise small and vocal troll clusters to argue that they’re actually bad, often for entirely fictional reasons.
Vaccinations, for example. Water fluoridation. Teaching history. Renewable energy. There’s no shortage of things that are smart being howled down by armies of… you know.
And amid a growing horror about the degree to which micro plastics are pervading the entire global environment – including horror stories of dead baby turtles with stomachs full of plastic – there’s another fight about the rights of Australians to keep being given single use shopping bags.
For now a brilliant new excuse has been pitched, for which you might need to sit down.
The slowing Australian economy is being further weakened by the lack of plastic bags because – sigh – people can’t carry their purchases so they’re buying less stuff.
This was the claim made in a report by Australian businesses – a “confidential” report which remains suspiciously unattributed to the point that one might almost think in this case “confidential” is a misprint of “imaginary”.
As excuse go this is breathtakingly stupid for a bunch of reasons, starting with it being predicated that supermarkets and other retailers don’t have any bags available, thereby forcing shoppers to purchase only what they can carry.
Spoiler: bags remain both plentiful and available, even in places which don’t hand them out.
Said bags in non-bag-giving places require purchase, which for supermarkets hovers around 15 cents depending on the outlet. The idea that someone would be spending hundreds of bonus dollars on things but simultaneously don’t have the 15 cents spare for a bag is… look, again, we’re not saying that the report is definitely made up, but we’re not NOT saying that either.
And hell, I’d be all for a $50 price tag on supermarket bags, because I can goddamn guarantee that no-one would ever forget their bag more than once.