There is a third way: biodegradable bags

Michael Laurier CEO, Symphony Environmental Sir; The government's proposals to make shoppers pay for all plastic bags give retailers no incentive to switch to degradable bags. Symphony makes an 'oxo-biodegradable' additive that causes plastic to degrade in a short, pre-set timespan, leaving no methane, no fragments, and no harmful residues. Oxo-biodegradable plastic is an ideal compromise between those who want to ban plastic bags and those who understand how useful and convenient they are. If retailers are to be forced to charge shoppers for plastic bags, we cannot understand why no exception has been made for ones which are degradable. Oxo-bio plastic degrades automatically on land or sea, in the light or the dark, and whether it is hot or cold. If Britain were to switch to oxo-bio for most forms of plastic packaging, the accumulation of plastic waste in the environment would be dramatically reduced. We do not think it fair to make people pay extra for conventional bags or to ban them, when they could have degradable ones. Many people in the UK are not yet aware of oxo-bio. However, it enjoys a growing reputation overseas, particularly in developing countries with increasing problems of plastic pollution. In Brazil, India and Argentina, there are already laws requiring plastic shopping bags to be degradable.