The bag ban to save the environment that won’t save anything, in fact it will make things worse

The government and the Princess in charge have declared that they want to save the environment and that climate change is one of the most important issues.

Consequently they have banned oil and gas exploration and now they’ve banned alleged single use plastic bags. Like a lightbulb ban or a shower head regulation this is nothing but pure virtue signalling, and as Eric Crampton points out won’t help one little bit, in fact it will be worse for the environment: Quote:

The Ministry for the Environment’s consultation document on banning plastic bags is out.

The key table is in the appendix. Or at least the most interesting table. It shows, from a Danish study, the number of times a reusable shopping bag would have to be reused to have less environmental impact than current disposable bags.

The consultation document provides no cost-benefit assessment, but Question 8 asks those making submissions to assess whether the benefits might outweigh the costs. End quote.

Perhaps we need to ditch our 100% cotton Gunt bags and sell job lots of “single use bags” to Whaleoil readers?

Eric Crampton highlights reality:Quote:

We have a few reusable bags at home. The ones we have get reused a lot, because we use them on planned trips to the store. But most of our trips aren’t like that. Most of them are grabbing a few things on the way home after getting off the bus. Maybe other people are happy to carry around reusable grocery bags every day on the off chance that they might need to grab milk, bread, eggs and butter on the way home. I’m not. On those trips, we use the disposable plastic bags. Because what else are you going to do? Walk home, get a bag, walk back to the shop? It’s absurd.

The more likely outcome: buying the reusable bags on those trips, accumulating a stack of them at home, then finding some way of disposing of them down the line. The number of times these things get reused will be endogenous to whether disposable plastic bags exist. I’m expecting that the reuse rates will be dropping.

I also have a few hundred of the disposable bags now on order from Ali Baba because they’re too useful around the house to do without. It may also be fun to bring those to the market for use as shopping bags after the ban.

Oh – another depressing part. MoE includes this line.

Retailers will profit from not having to provide free bags and by selling alternative carriers, and are in a good position to help their customers to transition.

Not a lot of economic intuition on display here. If it’s true, it means that customers will choose stores based on whether bags are available. If that’s true, the value destroyed by banning them is substantial. End quote.

This government is all about appearances and certainly not at all about substance.

I doubt that the 100% cotton bags the government wants us to use would last even 5000 uses let alone 20,000. Seeing Countdown scalping customers 15c a bag for  just another plastic bag is even more ridiculous.

Time to source some large quantities of “single use bags” and get my logo on them and then people can shop to their hearts content knowing they are doing more for the environment than the virtue-signalers who wanted these bags gone.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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