Friday, November 23, 2007

Ban the bag? Catch a Grip!

The humble carrier bag has had a bad time of it recently. From Gordon Brown's first big green speech to 'Dragon' Peter Jones to the good folk of Modbury, the message has gone out loud and clear "Save the Planet! Ban the bag!".

Unfortunately the facts undermine this totemic issue - plastic bags probably make up a measely 0.1% of our carbon footprint (less if you're as rich as Mr Jones and spend your life jetting around the world). What's in them is far more important - our grocery shopping accounts for between 20% and 33% of our footprint, depending on how you count it. Other huge chunks are taken up by heating our homes, our personal transport and cooling our offices.

I've got nothing against trying to reduce the number of single use plastic bags, but it is completely missing the point if the public starts to believe that's all there is to saving the world. Ditto switching off your phone chargers - worth doing, but a piddling amount of energy in the grand scheme of things.

I know I've said it before, but I think it's worth saying again. If you want to make a difference you need to:

As you can see above, it's not that hard, yet we're continually bombarded with misleading information. No wonder it is taking a long time to change the public's behaviour. Harrumph etc...

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