Good Lord!

Sensible stuff in The Guardian about reducing carbon emissions.

Bit of a shocker really.

Nothing arouses fury like the disposable plastic supermarket bag. Gordon Brown singled them out in his first speech on climate change as prime minister. The widespread hatred now extends to almost all plastic food packaging. But although plastic bags are detestable, they are almost irrelevant to climate change. Each of us uses about 2kg a year of shopping bags, and they perform multiple useful functions in the home after they have carried our shopping from the supermarket. Food packaging of all types is no more than 5% of the weight of our groceries. Wasted food, which rots in landfill and generates methane, is a far more serious cause of global warming. Rather than getting our retailers to strip the 3g of protective polythene from our cucumbers, we need to concentrate on reducing the 30% of food that goes to waste every week.

And, of course, packaging reduces food waste….

12 comments on “Good Lord!

  1. Brilliant! I did a post on plastic bags and most of us were in favour of them, Anon pointing out that plastic bags are made up of a by-product of the oil industry that would otherwise be flared off.

  2. But obviously they don’t want us to eat that 30% of food that goes to waste, that would make the lard-arse epedemic even worse.

  3. Of course what really pisses the Greens off is that plastic bags don’t decompose into Greenhouse gases. No pleasing some people really. Anyone checked to see what the Co-op’s bags, which disintegrate nicely actually, emit?

    I wonder if we could make it a condition of any new Supermarket that they have to keep a pig out the back. Then customers can return their uneaten food scraps, they can be fed to said pig which can be turned into pork. Maybe some chickens. Of course it would be better if Tesco did it on its own but at least the government could remove the regulations that prevent them.

  4. “they can be fed to said pig which can be turned into pork. Maybe some chickens.”

    I don’t think you can turn pigs into chickens. Even if you could, Greenpeace would throw a megawobbly, frakenfoods and all that.

  5. carbon tetrahydride

    If they are made from starch, presumably they will decompose in the same way as any plant material.

  6. The 30% figures come from WRAP. Half that total is tea bags, potato peelings, etc. Not my definition of food.

    In landfill the methane is collected and generates 20% of our renewable energy. Also, the levels of atmospheric methane is level and possibly declining.

    So much For Subtlety, you are not allowed to feed swill to pigs any more.

  7. Plus, plastic bags (having been used as bin liners)burn very nicely in waste incineration plants, one of the finest forms of electricity generation (provided you sort your waste into “stuff that burns” and “stuff that doesn’t burn”).

  8. DocBud, you can turn anything into chickens if you cut it small enough! But the RSPCA might object to doing that to the pigs.

    Presumably these shopping bags break down to CO2 and CH4. Among other things. They are just crude oil in a different form. With some additives like starch. Not good. Maybe it is better to leave them as plastic bags?

    I heard they banned it after the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Which is, let me say, outrageous. Pigs have a crap diet at the best of times, they could at least be allowed to supplement it with a little Chinese take away left overs and the like. As I said, the least they could do is remove some of the regulations like this one. I wonder if this would meet Tim’s strict recycling guidelines. The Supermarkets have car parks to keep said pigs in, often with nice verges and bits of shrubbery. We have to go there anyway to shop. We could easily take our scraps if we felt virtuous enough or if the Supermarket offered us a discount of some description. The pigs would enjoy the left overs. And they might even enjoy the open air.

  9. All my food waste goes the same place that stomach processed food waste goes. It seems silly to use 2 systems to do similar things.

  10. I think that to have an informed opinion on this, you must have tried living (and shopping) in a variety of climates.

    Plastic bags are the 8th wonder of the world if you live in a place that has torrential downpours (because they don’t fail catastrophically) or constant humidity (because they don’t fail slowly).

    Now that I live in the desert, I don’t care for plastic anymore – but I’m wise enough now not to impose that viewpoint on others.

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