Greening the Issue II

Meanwhile, British grocery chain Sainsbury’s has rejected the idea, proposed by the British government as its major (yes…) environmental initiative, of charging shoppers for plastic bags. This is a good thing too – shoppers have no reason to feel guilty about using plastic bags (the study that decreed that plastic bags were killing thousands of animals has been comprehensively debunked) although they should of course be responsible enough to dispose of them properly rather than litter the place.

What Sainsbury’s is proposing instead is that customers who do not use plastic bags will get points on their store loyalty card. Again, this is brilliant. It takes a fad and turns it to the benefit of the store and those customers who subscribe to it, while not really punishing those who do not see the attraction of the fad. this is an ingenious private sector solution; if the benefits of the loyalty card points turn out to be greater than the benefits of using plastic bags, then everyone will switch and everyone will be better off. If not, no-one really suffers, except for the command-and-control types who want to exercise dominion over not just what goes into your grocery bag, but the grocery bag itself…

Cross-posted from The Really Inconvenient Blog.