Two weeks into the English tax on single use carrier bags in supermarkets, ninety percent of shoppers are still heading out for their weekly shop forgetting their reusable bags.
With millions of carriers still being issued by major stores every day, one national waste and management company is posing the difficult question: Is the carrier bag tax high enough?
The BigGreen.co.uk waste prevention company says that the first weeks of the tax has seen shoppers use all sort of ingenious tactics to avoid the tax, all to avoid paying just five pence. “In the great scheme of things, five pence is just chicken feed,” says Big Green‘s Johnny Ratcliffe. “That kind of small change in just a minor inconvenience to most people.”
That’s why Big Green is suggesting an early increase in the tax, as the company is convinced that English shoppers won’t end their plastic habit unless bags are made truly undesirable. “We get through 7 billion plastic bags every year, and that number’s not going to go down unless people genuinely switch to reusable bags.”
Big Green asked over 1,500 shoppers about how their habits have changed in the first week of the 5p charge, and found:
– 89% forgot their reusable bags, or didn’t have bags to begin with
– 11% brought bags with them
– 73% paid 5p per bag for one or more single-use bags
– 21% bought reusable plastic or hessian bags at the till
– 6% used no bags at all, or improvised
Figures released earlier this year show how successful the policy has been in other parts of the UK where the bag tax has been a reality for one or more years.
– Scottish plastic bag use has decreased by 130 million bags, or around 80%
– In Wales, plastic bag use has dropped by 71%, with overall bag use dropping by 57%
– Plastic bag use has dropped from 190 million bags to 30 million per year in Northern Ireland
But to make the policy a success, English shoppers have to be convinced to reuse their bags, or somehow get their shopping home without using bags at all. With the first news stories about shoppers refusing to pay the tax hitting the media, Business Waste has heard tales of people resorting to improvisation to get their groceries home without the use of bags, some more successful than others:
– Some shoppers are packing their groceries into cardboard boxes, in scenes reminiscent of the early days of supermarkets when used boxes weren’t sent to the crusher
– Another person was seen improvising a rucksack out of their coat, just to get their shopping out to the car park
– One checkout worker witnessed a grown man putting his shopping into (unused) dog poo bags produced from the customer’s pockets
– Another said they had seen families unloading trollies directly into the back of their cars, presumably to relay everything into the house once they got home
“And that’s just to save five pence per bag – or about ten quid a year for the average family,” says Big Green’s Johnny Ratcliffe, who hopes more people come up with alternative ways of getting their goods home to get the message across that saving resources is a good thing.
“But from what we’ve heard, the huge, huge majority of people are still putting their hands in their pockets and paying out the 5p,” he says, and that’s why he feels the charge has been set far too low. That being the case, it looks like we’re resistant as a country to such a small charge, and that’s why it should be at least 20p – or perhaps even higher.”
But the way ahead is simple for English shoppers: Be like the rest of the UK and remember your reusable bags.
“While it’s great that 4p per bag is going to charity, the kindest thing you can do is help save the planet by using fewer throwaway bags.”
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .