Following a push to eradicate the plastic bag from the United Kingdom (and London in particular), supermarkets have stopped giving the standard plastic carrier bags unless you ask for them. And even then, a lot of shops will now preferably give you a small plastic bag rather than a normal size one. On the face of it, this all sounds like a good idea as it consumes less plastic but it only looks at the very beginning of the life of a plastic bag and assumes I will throw it away once I get home. Well, no, I don't throw my plastic bags away: I reuse them. There are tons of different ways I can reuse a standard size supermarket plastic bag: as a bin liner for my kitchen bin for instance. But what can I do with the small ones they now give away? Not much! So they pile up at home. It's even got to the point where I started wondering if I needed to buy plastic bin liners for the kitchen bin as I'm now running out of standard size plastic bags!
So what could be the solution to this conundrum? Most people have two reasons to go to the supermarket: either to do a weekly food shop, in which case they will need large bags and are even quite likely these days to have their own bags, so no problem there; or they will just pop in to buy a few items that they realised they needed, in which case they may need a small bag. In that last case, it seems to me that the small plastic bag is not the right answer. A small (recycled) paper bag, similar to the ones you get in Pret or most other sandwich shop would be perfect! When I come home, I can then pop the small paper bag in my recycling green box and be done with it: much nicer and easier than dealing with a small plastic bag that is difficult to recycle or reuse.
Stop this small plastic bag madness!