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Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 01:21 pm

The Sydney Morning Herald’s environmental reporter Stephanie Peatling in early 2004:

The Federal Opposition has pounced on community hatred of plastic bags, agreeing to ban them as it beefs up its environmental credentials before the election later this year …

But that plastic hatred turns out to have existed only in Stephanie’s mind. An attempt by retailer Coles Myer to introduce reusable, enviro-friendly, non-biodegradable bags has delivered hilarious results:

Less than 1 per cent of the non-biodegradable bags have been reused, according to Coles’ own calculations.

The despised green-pleasing bags, some 30 million of them, are reportedly destined for landfill.

Posted by Tim B. on 12/31/2005 at 01:10 PM
    1. If bags could talk:  “Why do they hate us??”

      Posted by Mystery Meat on 2005 12 31 at 02:58 PM • permalink


    1. Plastic turkeys, not bags!

      Posted by Jim Treacher on 2005 12 31 at 03:29 PM • permalink


    1. When I was young, we were obsessively told to get plastic bags, not paper, because paper killed trees and the paper used in the bags was rarely (if ever) recycled.

      Now they’re complaining that retailers should be using paper, not plastic.

      Sweet merciful crap in a wheelbarrow.

      Posted by Aaron – Freewill on 2005 12 31 at 03:37 PM • permalink


    1. I reuse most of my plastic bags. I put garbage in them… and throw them out.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 12 31 at 03:46 PM • permalink


    1. “Community hatred” of plastic bags? Come now, surely “hatred” is simply purple journalese. Or are they bags of middle eastern appearance?

      Posted by paco on 2005 12 31 at 03:51 PM • permalink


    1. You can also buy pleasant red-colored plastic bags labelled BIO-HAZARD, I see here in my bag catalog.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2005 12 31 at 03:52 PM • permalink


    1. So this Stephanie Peatling……is she the Bag Lady of Sydney?


      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 12 31 at 04:10 PM • permalink


    1. Those eeeeevillll plastic bags can be (and are) recycled. With less waste byproducts produced and less energy consumed than recycling paper. Ironic, isn’t it?

      My neighborhood supermarket has a bin by the front door where customers can drop them off. They have a roll-off container around back that is picked up by a recycling company when it’s full. Very simple and convenient.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2005 12 31 at 04:25 PM • permalink


    1. So this Stephanie Peatling……is she the Bag Lady of Sydney?

      Ever since the death of Bea Miles, there has been a vacancy in the Bag Lady employment market, and Ms. Peatling could be the one to fill it!

      (Bea Miles, for the benefit of overseas readers, was a Sydney nutter who went around quoting Shakespeare at everybody. I expect if she was alive today, she’d be trying to sell them the Big Issue.)

      Posted by TimT on 2005 12 31 at 05:16 PM • permalink


    1. Andrea #4 – Me, too. If I didn’t have the bags from the supermarket for my kitchen I’d have to buy them, so what’s the problem? Call it common sense. Call it conservation of a precious resource – in this case, my money.

      Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2005 12 31 at 05:32 PM • permalink


    1. Bloody hell, Tim, I just noticed that you opened this thread at 2:10 this morning. Blogging with a drink in one hand? Mate, that’s devotion to the cause.

      Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2005 12 31 at 05:34 PM • permalink


    1. Before Christmas Coles supermarkets replaced the singlet-style check-out bags with quality, heavy-duty pre-printed PVC bags, with a message to ‘please recycle to save the environment’.  These would have been many times the cost of the usual bags.

      At my local Coles supermarket not one single person has been spotted recycling these bags.  Ours went straight for landfill.  As they take 100s of year to break down they are ideal for this purpose, adding stability to the site.  We do get few – and very few – do-gooders using the green cloth bags ($1 each).

      Some will remember when supermarkets were environmentally friendly (and not by design) and used kraft sacks (no handles) and provided a huge bin of wrecked cardboard boxes out the front. Not only did it take twice as long to pack (and packers were provided – I was one) but you risked spilling the lot in the carpark on the way out.

      I suspect the supermarkets will make all the right noises about plastic bags, make a few token efforts at appeasement, but do nothing unless compelled to by legislation.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2005 12 31 at 06:22 PM • permalink


    1. I suspect the supermarkets will make all the right noises about plastic bags, make a few token efforts at appeasement, but do nothing unless compelled to by legislation.

      And raising their prices to cover the extra costs, natch.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 12 31 at 06:25 PM • permalink


    1. It’s time to bite the bullet and protect the environment by turning the last of the old-growth forests into paper sacks for supermarkets.  They’re naturally biodegradable!

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 12 31 at 07:16 PM • permalink


    1. Gee and here I was being all cynical at how the shops jumped on the “green” bag bandwaggon.
      Flunky 1 “Boss were not seen as green”
      Boss “Bugger have you seen what we spend on giving out plastic bags”
      Both ” Heeeyyy…”
      Something that was free is now made to cost you money. Im suprised they dont put a picture of a baby panda choking on the old bags as a subtle means of tring to increase sales.

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2005 12 31 at 07:20 PM • permalink


    1. I’m all for biodegradable plastic bags. They have ones made from tapioca of all things (don’t know how edible they are – I’ve never been a tapioca fan), and I’m happy to pay for those.

      The cloth bags? I seem to be collecting those, but rarely remember to take them shopping. They clutter up my cupboard and house some of my vinyl record collection.

      And as for the new, heavy-duty reusable ones, apparently they come with a bar code that when scanned donates 10c to some charity or other. So I hear.

      Oh, and happy noo year to everyone!

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2005 12 31 at 07:25 PM • permalink


    1. There was a guy in Toowong, Brisbane (near where I used to live) who lived on the street, although he owned (expensive) property nearby, and clothed himself entirely in plastic bags fished out of the Woolies dumpster.  Brisbane is very humid much of the year, and you had to make sure to keep up-wind.  If you did so, he was quite OK to chat with.  I don’t know what, if anything, happened to him.  The property he owned would have been worth a million dollars.

      Anyway, in all this discussion about banning plastic bags, please, will someone just think of the crazy-street-person-millionaires?  What about them?

      Posted by Brett_McS on 2005 12 31 at 07:44 PM • permalink


    1. Brett_McS

      There was a bloke like that in Perth but he was more the standard , sleep under a bridge, invisble friend, Sally army suit job.
      But he used to carry around tens of thousands of dollars in a brown paper sack. he was a successfull businessman in gero and used to do this about once a year for a month or so.
      So think of the brown paper bag loons as well.

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2005 12 31 at 07:56 PM • permalink


    1. I think Steph would be a paper bag job … I’ll let someone else explain ‘cause I’m off to the beach … yep, off to Cronulla …

      Posted by Stevo on 2005 12 31 at 08:14 PM • permalink


    1. Wait, if they were not biodegradable, how the heck did those things ever get termed “environmentally friendly” in the first place?

      Posted by PW on 2005 12 31 at 08:26 PM • permalink


    1. All they had to do was diss President Bush, PW.

      Posted by Achillea on 2005 12 31 at 08:48 PM • permalink


    1. Brett_McS
      That bag guy still lives in Toowong.  Last year some do-gooders tried to get him to move on, or was it live in proper accommodation?  I believe he told them to f off.

      Posted by entropy on 2005 12 31 at 10:16 PM • permalink


    1. #22.  entropy.  Good to hear, on both counts.

      Posted by Brett_McS on 2005 12 31 at 10:35 PM • permalink


    1. biodegradable, schmiodegradable – anything you put in landfill will pretty much be there for um, well, a very long time. bury a bio & non-bio bag at the same time in a dry hole in the ground & come back 10 years later & dig them up.  the biodegradable one will be a little bit mankier than the non-biodegradable one, but not much.  some archaeologists make a living out of digging up ancient piles of garbage – they call them middens.

      anyhoo, if you do lifecycle analysis on many artefacts of modern living, the results are often surprising.  take the cloth nappies so loved by the envirogoons – compare the full production & maintenance costs of cloth nappies with disposables, and you get very little difference (that being largely that cloth nappies eventually make quite nice dusters)

      but thanks to coles for introducing the green bags – at $1 each they were just the ticket for liberal party booth kits for the 2004 federal election and i can recycle them for the state election this year 🙂

      Posted by KK on 2005 12 31 at 11:28 PM • permalink


    1. Back in the good old days[violins appegio please] shops used to DELIVER the weekly groceries in wooden boxes the fruit came in.
      These boxes made quite good kindling for the wood fired stoves, also one could make handy furniture out of them ,in fact they were extremely useful . Particularly in getting rid of forests.
      Now the plastic bag, while not having as many good points, has a place in our hearts that nothing else will ever fill.
      If supermarts cut out the free plastic bags , we will have to buy the [plastic bag] bin liners. Oh!Sad day.

      Posted by waussie on 2006 01 01 at 12:39 AM • permalink


    1. #25.  Yeh, I bought one of those “kitchen tidys” that are designed especially to use the throw-away supermarket bags.  I haven’t bought a bag of liners since.

      Posted by Brett_McS on 2006 01 01 at 01:00 AM • permalink


    1. Bunnings already make you pay for plastic bags.  I’d love to take my business elsewhere, but they’ve sent all the old neighbourhood hardware stores broke.

      Posted by slammer on 2006 01 01 at 02:34 AM • permalink


    1. I suspect the supermarkets will make all the right noises about plastic bags, make a few token efforts at appeasement, but do nothing unless compelled to by legislation

      #12, actually that’s already on the cards. The COAG environment minister’s council (Federal and State ministers) has been talking about forcing retailers to cut down on plastic bag use for some time now with the threat of regulation if they don’t succeed. Expect bans or high charges sometime next year.

      Btw, there’s an amusing anecdote going around about the Federal Environment Minister (who has been thoroughly captured by the enviro-tards in his department). The colour of the reusable bags sold by supermarkets is green but you might notice that they’re slowly changing to blue. Apparently he thought the green bags could be confused with the Greens Party and leant on the retailers to change the colour.

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2006 01 01 at 04:12 AM • permalink


    1. #28. Sounds like time for a re-shuffle!

      Posted by Brett_McS on 2006 01 01 at 04:27 AM • permalink


    1. #29, let’s hope. I can only endure his sanctimonious ramblings on whaling for so long!

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2006 01 01 at 04:31 AM • permalink


    1. #28 masterful – blue’s even better for booth bags 🙂

      Posted by KK on 2006 01 01 at 05:36 AM • permalink


    1. #31. KK, I’m thinking of joining the NSW Liberal Party as my New Years Resolution, if I can convince myself that it is not some form of latent masochism.  If so, see you on the booth.  I’ll bring more Liberal Party Blue bags.

      Posted by Brett_McS on 2006 01 01 at 05:45 AM • permalink


    1. Supermarkets have built into grocery prices the cost of supplying plastic bags.  If they get rid of them or start charging for them I expect all my groceries to become cheaper as a result.  What are the chances of that happening?

      Posted by Crossie on 2006 01 01 at 07:10 AM • permalink


    1. I recycle my supermarket plastic bags, they become trash-filled landfill.
      Except the ones that stay under purchased pot plants waiting to be planted, they crumble in a short time, I think it’s the UV and being dry.

      buckley’s and none.

      Posted by kae on 2006 01 01 at 07:34 AM • permalink


    1. #32 goodonyer – but you’ll have to come to melb

      #34 yup it’s the uv

      Posted by KK on 2006 01 01 at 09:22 PM • permalink


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