Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Carry Bag Tax

I'm already irritated by this tax. It's everything I hate about the worst aspects of Guardian Ecosocialism. If it was simply a case of taxing the pollution and landfill, I might have less of a problem. Work out the cost, stick it on the bag production companies and off you go. But it's not that. It's that you, the consumer have to pay the 5p. It's not based around a view of people of adults, where you pay for your decisions, but a nanny state view of people as children who need to make the right choices, and be guilted and punished into doing so. It's why you pay the money, and why that money in a punative sum over the actual damage caused.

Plus that's far more complicated than just collecting it when it's produced.

On top of that, I already reuse my bags. I take a couple of carrier bags to use when taking the dog out for a walk. They do the job as well as the proper "doggy poop bags". So I'm already sorting out the problem by reusing rather than buying a load of other bags.

I could go along with it and buy the pet bags. But I'm not going to. I'm going to keep getting the bags and keep handing over the money. I know it means government get the money to spend on whatever pet bullshit they want to, but the government is more interested in the public acquiescing to their bullying than handing over the money. And when this works, they'll push a bit harder next time.


Mark Wadsworth said...

The whole thing is nuts.

Supermarkets can just give people a 5p discount on their food shopping for each plastic bag they buy.

Think about it - Sainsbury's and possibly even Tesco already give you a very small discount (or extra points, or whatever) if you bring your own bag.

So they could sell you a bag for 5p first, and then give you a 5p discount for using your own bag.

That's what I'd do. Fuck 'em.

Bayard said...

TS, we've already had the plastic bag tax here for over a year and it does what it's intended, which is to stop the supermarkets handing out carrier bags like they are going out of fashion.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, but carrier bags are only a tiny percentage of all plastic used in packaging etc.

Even if we were convinced that plastic is bad for the environment etc, i.e. the food that would otherwise be wasted places less of a burden than the plastic packaging, then why not tax ALL plastic at source?

And what is that burden? The use of mineral oils, energy and land for land fill or pollution from incinceration.

Which gets us neatly back to Land Value Tax; if LVT were set correctly on natural resources, land and pollution there would be no need for a pathetic 'plastic bag' hair shirt tax.

The Stigler said...


And who's business is that but the supermarkets? They've paid for them, why shouldn't they give them away to people?

And I know the arguments - the effect on wildlife and all that, but honestly, some guy on a beach that can't be bothered finding a bin isn't going to change his mind for the sake of 5p.

Bayard said...

"the effect on wildlife and all that, but honestly, some guy on a beach that can't be bothered finding a bin isn't going to change his mind for the sake of 5p."

AFAICR, it wasn't "the effect on wildlife" that was cited when the tax came in in Wales, it was "reducing the volume of waste going to landfill". Also, the effect works at the point of sale: yer bloke on the beach is much less likely to discard a plastic bag if he didn't bring one in the first place because when he did his shopping he used a reusable bag. Also, you are forgetting psychology here. If you pay nothing for something, it's worth nothing to you, therefore you are more likely to discard it carelessly than if you have paid something for it, however little. After all 5p is a infinite number of times greater than 0p.

The Stigler said...


Mark and I did the numbers a few years ago on how much space you need for landfill for a whole country, for everything and it's a trivial percentage of the land area. And Wales has plenty of available land.

And the politicians only push this because of EU landfill directive which taxes the use of landfill, which they never mention when telling voters about the cost of landfill (which in reality is almost nothing as it uses worthless land).