retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that Australian supermarket chain Coles yesterday “reversed its decision to ban single-use plastic bags after its customers complained, a move that bucked a global trend to reduce plastic bag waste and prompted a social media backlash against the company.”

The story notes that Coles had agreed to begin offering reusable plastic bags as of July 1, charging customers the equivalent of 11 cents (US) for each one. The Times writes that the decision prompted what some called “bag rage,” as shoppers rebelled and complained.

The Times also provides some context:

“A majority of the world’s plastic waste ends up in the sea, where, because of currents, it often becomes concentrated in subtropical gyres or ‘ocean garbage patches.’ This pollution is often ingested by marine life and can find its way into the human food chain.

“Efforts are underway to clean up these garbage patches, by organizations like The Ocean Group — a nonprofit involving engineers, researchers, scientists and modelers — who aim to reduce the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by half in five years.”
KC's View:
I know that whenever this subject comes up, I get email from folks arguing that the whole idea that plastic bags are bad for the environment is a canard.

I don’t understand this … in the sense that the more that any of us can do to reduce the use of any and all disposables is a good thing. If you have the opportunity to do anything to reduce the impact on the planet, why wouldn’t you do it?