UK shoppers reveal bizarre ideas to avoid paying for a 5 pence plastic bag

Plastiktüten (Foto: DUH)

York, UK — The latest statistics show that disposable plastic bag use in supermarkets has fallen by 80 per cent since the 5 pence charge was introduced in England. The 5 pence charge has resulted in shoppers going to extreme methods to avoid being parted with their cash. According to national waste and recycling company, the tiny five pence fee is a red line for many people, who would rather stuff their pockets with frozen peas rather than having to carry them home in the „bag of shame“.

„Two things became clear on day one of the scheme,“ says spokesperson Mark Hall. „First, there’s no way on earth you’ll part people with five pence for a plastic bag; and second, these same people will go to any length to find alternatives.“ asked hundreds of shoppers around the country to ask them what they had used when caught short of a bag in a supermarket. Here are some of the more unusual answers they received:

  • Builder’s bucket („I’m a builder, I’ve got loads of buckets. What a money-saver“)
  • Car blanket tied up at all four corners („I do it all the time now, the till operators think it’s very clever“)
  • Cycle helmet („Which means I had to push the bike home. Swings and roundabouts, as they say“)
  • Dog poo bag („I’ve always got a few in my pocket, and they hold more than you expect. Better still, they’re free from the council offices!“)
  • Pair of trousers tied up at the ankles („They were in the back of the car, they saved me at least 20p on bags, and hardly anybody laughed at me, so that’s a plus“)
  • Coat with loads of pockets („I leave the supermarket looking like a very successful shoplifter, so getting past the security guard is always a challenge“)
  • Baby’s pram („An old-fashioned one with all the springs and such. All my children are grown up, mind you“)
  • Flower pot („One of those huge decorative ones from the homeware aisle. It was just the right size“)
  • In the arms of my children („I’ve got four, and they’ve got two good arms each. They’re not keen on the frozen stuff.“)
  • Suitcase („Suitcases are completely under-rated as a shopping bag alternative. Think about it – they’re only used once a year when you go on holiday, so why let them go to waste? Top tip: Make sure it’s one with wheels“)

They also heard a lot of people confessing that they „borrow“ the supermarket’s wire basket or trolley to get their goods home, but that’s not something encourages. „Number one, it’s theft,“ says Hall, „and if there is one downside to the plastic bag charge, it’s the number of abandoned shopping trolleys in the streets these days. It’s gone through the roof.“

However, the human ingenuity that has gone into the subject of avoiding a 5 pence charge bodes well for the future of the British nation, says. „If we have the finest minds of our generation working on this complex situation, heaven knows what we can achieve if we turn this collective power to bear on our nation’s biggest problems,“ Hall says. „As a country, we’d be unbeatable.“

And as for giving supermarket single-use plastic bags a name, Hall has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek: „Come to think of it, perhaps they should print ‚Bag of Shame‘ on the side of supermarket plastic bags after all,“ muses Hall, „That’ll drive the numbers down even further.“