Saturday, 18 May 2013

Create a better environment... with this bag?

I won't name the shop. The message seems great. Not sure how much it will help. In terms of resources, the use-your-own-shopping-bag mantra is probably myth. Polyethene bags use minimal resources, meaning that you'd need to use your bag claiming you're eco a few hundred times to be in the green in carbon accountancy. And don't forget the one you lost, the one in the car, and the other five you have in the drawer in the kitchen. 

Manufactured multiple-use shopping bags go through multiple processes and end up weighing much more, meaning more carbon getting them to the shop.

This one has a metal zip. Good old eco steel wrought at hundreds of degrees centigrade from iron ore dug from the earth, upstream from rivers of rust. OK, so it's only a few grammes of steel, but grammes of steel use kilogrammes of water and each kilogramme of steel is responsible for 4 kilogrammes of CO2.

They are a symbol for the consumer, and a lucrative product for the shop, making them money while making them seem green. At the risk of being cynical, the bottom line incentive for the shops to use them will be increased profit, not reduced costs. That means more CO2. Not that shops and business aren't trying to do the right thing, just that the economic system in which they work makes the right thing unlikely.

However, this bag is partly insulated, so will keep groceries cooler between shop and fridge at home, saving a little electricity. In this sense these bags are eco.

Talking of fridges, though, ours has had a problem and a guy has been coming over the past few weeks to fix it. The ice maker isn't making ice properly, and the last thing he said was that cold air is leaking through a hole up into the main fridge, which is causing ice to form there. 

Anyway, the good news is that they've decided to replace the Fridge. Newer fridges are more efficient, and it will no doubt have some extra functions.

At least this is good news for us. As far as resource consumption and the pressure on the environment from this, and the stress from another piece of white stuff that needs scrapping, it is another minor disaster. Number 14,000 for the day.

^Hickman, Martin (2011-02-20). "Plastic fantastic! Carrier bags 'not eco-villains after all'"The Independent (London).

P.S. Sorry the image at the top ended up on it's side. I'm not sure if it's worth my effort and the computer's processing power to rotate it.