Enviro-Nutsies


Recently I visited a large, well-known hardware chain where no plastic bags are provided to customers. It's part of their feel-good drive to help the environment. I wouldn't mind, except that the only way to reach the place on foot, or from the buses, was walk around three sides of the warehouse-like building and pick my way through a huge car park. I asked the sales assistant if this was hypocritical, but all I got was a surly look and a threat to not sell me really cheap light bulbs, so I let it go.

It's not like they were the nice, old fashioned flattering incandescent light bulbs either. All you can buy these days from many retailers is those awful energy saving things, which look like spare parts from the Tardis and give the whole room an awful greyish glow, as if you have the flu, but worse.

Yet this week, some of these same damn retailers who are nannying to us about the environment and what we can and can't buy are offering huge discounts on petrol if you spend sufficient sums at their condescending stores.

Can we stop this lunacy please? Driving a car and using green bags is environmentally useless. Worse than useless in fact, because it allows the driver to reduce their guilt and not look at making any real changes. But I'm not sure if we can blame the individual here - the Government deserves some blame for poor public transport, of course (though around where I live, with a continual stream of buses to the City, people still love their damn cars). But the main blame lies with these businesses - maintaining a car culture, wasting energy, stocking overpackaged products with high carbon footprints and god knows what environmental safety standards in manufacture - whilst they absolve themselves and their customers of all blame.

I'm depressing myself here. Let's strike a deal - you offer people incentives to get the train to the shops occasionally, let me have waterproof bags which I can re-use as bag liners and flattering light bulbs, and we'll all be happy.

In the meantime, I'm shopping at Aldi. But since they don't offer any plastic bags either, I'm bringing cling wrap to the store to wrap my purchases for the trip home.

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