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Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags As Part of Our National Life

In the past plastic bags have been called the national bird of South Africa, the reason; they could be found festooning fences, gaily skipping across waste ground, wrapped around traffic lights and telephone poles, in fact wherever there seemed to be an opportunity for snagging on something a plastic bag could be found exploiting that niche in the ecosystem. People could be excused for thinking of them as the faster, airborne equivalent of the lonely shopping trolley, abandoned at the entrance to a storm water drain, pining for companionship.

However jokes and analogies aside, plastic bags were becoming a real nuisance. Aside from being an unsightly blight on the landscape they also fouled waterways and in some instances caused the death of various types of fauna, who would ingest the bags in the terminally mistaken belief that they were some sort of exotic foodstuff.

Then the powers that be in South Africa made the decision that henceforth plastic bags would not be supplied free by retailers but instead a nominal fee would be charged for their usage. Suddenly the valueless became valuable and alas the petroleum based national bird of South Africa became an endangered species.

Today plastic bags are still used in the traditional manner, as receptacles for our weekly or monthly shopping or as handy containers for non durable goods, or even as bin liners. However the difference is that they are not merely cast into the wind to wander the landscape. The example of plastic bags is one that should be emulated for other containers that are inconstant use in South Africa. Burgers need not be served in cardboard containers, biodegradable paper wrappers would do just as well.

If South Africa can literally clean up its act and make plastic bags into heroes instead of villains then it can perform the same sleight of hand with other materials that are fast clogging up our landfills.

The bonus to attaching a cost to materials like plastic bags is that it offers government a new source of income as they take part of the profit. If only they could change this water into wine and use the money to improve the lives of its citizens in a meaningful manner then we’d be in the Pound seats.

If you would like to know more about the life cycle of plastic bags then contact us.