Those of you who were readers of Whaleoil may remember that four years ago I was writing a lot of articles about the removal of ‘single use’ plastic bags from supermarkets. They were not actually ‘removed’ from supermarkets, of course; they were just no longer given out for free. Supermarket owners rubbed their hands with glee as they were saving money, and they could indulge in a little virtue-signaling at the same time. If you want to buy plastic bags though, you can fill your boots. They are still available in various sizes from lots of different websites, and also from the supermarkets themselves. I still buy plastic bin liners, but then I always did.

Nevertheless, the die was cast, and free supermarket bags are no more. I refused to stock up on ‘reusable’ bags that I had to pay for, but I put boxes in the back of my car and transfer my groceries from the trolley to the car without a problem.

It has to be noted however that, four years on, I am asked at the checkout every time if I want to buy some bags. See what I mean about virtue-signallers making money and loving it?

I note how much less plastic there is around these days. Things I buy online always arrive with no plastic packaging at all – only cardboard with paper padding. I think this is good – all that plastic and polystyrene used to drive me crazy. Now my recycling consists mainly of cardboard and paper (and glass) with plastic being a small contributor these days. We all know that most plastics are still not recycled properly, so to have achieved the position that we have today is admirable – particularly in such a short time.

But in the world of today, nothing is ever enough.

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Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July! I always thought that July was the month where we were all supposed to drink less… or not at all. Now it is turning into the month where we all have to don hair shirts and self-flagellate with a whip made out of rope. (Not out of plastic, obviously. The zealots are very influential.)

We have more or less eliminated ‘single use’ plastics, but they are usually not ‘single use’ anyway. I used to reuse my supermarket bags; in fact, I still have a few left. For all my bemoaning the fact that these useful items were being removed, we have all done rather well without them. As I said, you can always get them – you just no longer get them for free.

But we still need plastic bags. There was a very silly drive four years ago to line your rubbish bin with newspaper. There are two problems here. Firstly, this approach is all very well if your rubbish is 100% dry, which it usually isn’t. Secondly, how many people buy newspapers these days? We need plastic bags for wrapping up wet things, dirty things, or things that don’t smell too good. We need them to wrap food in the fridge or the freezer. We cannot live without these things completely, no matter what the climate zealots say.

Then there is the question of hygiene. Plastic bags are clean. I will never forget the story of a checkout operator who was handed a reusable shopping bag by a customer, and a mouse jumped out. I’ll bet she would rather hand out plastic bags for free than deal with vermin like that.

Do you, like me, get sick to death of being nagged constantly by the zealots? Nothing is never enough for them. They won’t be happy until they have eliminated every single piece of plastic in the country, but that will never happen. Plastic is too valuable a product to eliminate completely. Health professionals would be lost without it, your car – even your EV – would be much more expensive without it and exactly what all those climate harpies would do without their iPhones is beyond me. Plastics are everywhere. We cannot live without them.

Never, ever do you hear a moment of congratulation about how well we have done to eliminate plastics that are often just discarded. That’s what ‘single use’ means, isn’t it? In a few short years, we have dramatically reduced the amount of plastic in packaging, and this must be making a big difference to the amount of plastic used overall. We have done well. Let me give you all a pat on the back for using less plastic, seeing that the zealots never will.

tom cavanagh couple GIF by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Personally, and to my surprise, I am very happy with the current situation. I learnt to live without supermarket plastic bags, but I was a little bit disgruntled about a lack of plastic bags in the produce section. But now I couldn’t be happier. All those brown paper bags make brilliant firelighters, along with the heavy paper packaging you get in online deliveries these days. We used to buy newspapers (only local ones – there is no way I’m paying for disgusting rags like the DomPost any more) mainly as firelighters, but now we don’t need to. We’re saving a fortune.

What? You have a fire? Yes. But don’t tell the climate zealots, will you?


Ex-pat from the north of England, living in NZ since the 1980s, I consider myself a Kiwi through and through, but sometimes, particularly at the moment with Brexit, I hear the call from home. I believe...