Plastic carrier bags: Is there a problem?

Posted on Updated on

(photo by wasapninjordan)

When I first came to Jordan, it was so strange for my shopping to be packed for me by supermarket staff. I am used to doing this myself in the UK. When I tried to help and pack, some staff actually got offended that I was helping them. Maybe they saw it as a criticism or me making a judgement on their quality of work? I am not sure why but as I relaxed and took the back seat when it came to packing my shopping, I soon discovered how much plastic carrier bags are wasted. Each carrier bag has, at most 3 or 4 items in it. I love luxuries such as buying Kellogg’s ‘Special K’ cereal, which when it is packed gets its own special carrier bag 🙂

In the UK most major supermarkets have started to charge its customers a small fee for using plastic carrier bags in order to sway them to use reusable bags. Plastic carrier bags are extremely difficult to recycle and this is becoming a huge problem all over the world.

I do think we need to think about the future now and take a proactive approach to smaller things; as these smaller things may become bigger problem in the future.



9 thoughts on “Plastic carrier bags: Is there a problem?

    Summer said:
    June 3, 2008 at 7:40 AM

    a big chain of supermarkets here in Bahrain is going to start charging for plastic bags usage , starting July, and the proceeds will go to the environmental protection agencies. i see it as a good start for the environment protection in the region. they provide some sort of reusable cloth bags for a price but they are just too small, i need to buy like 15 at least to fit my weekly groceries!

    Jaber said:
    June 3, 2008 at 3:10 PM

    Packing for shoppers is not done only in Jordan; it is practiced world wide, including North America and Europe. It is not a big problem in Jordan since plastic bags are recycled to be used later for garbage or other needs. So please spare us, we do not need to adapt every new trend or practice coming from the UK or elsewhere.

    wasapninjordan said:
    June 3, 2008 at 3:52 PM

    Summer, that is a brilliant to see that we are all moving in the right direction:-) I wish everyone would think about the cost to the environment before we come up quick solutions.
    Jaber, I have been living in the UK most of my life and have never had my shopping packed for me and nor do i know of anyone in the UK that has had thier shopping packed but to be honest that was not the point of my disucssion; that was just me sharing my cultural experinces in a different country. However, regarding your other points, i too reuse my old plastic bags for garbage and other needs but my main point was a whole world issue and this is not a Jordan problem and that is that first we (the world) needs to slow down in its usage of plastic carrier bags and need to think of alternatives. I am only using UK as an example and was not using UK as exemplary; to be honest far from it. Plastic carrier bags take on average 1000 years to decay and we all need to to do something about it.No solution was given in the article, only a quick antidote. I hope i did not offend you by my article as it was not my intention.

    Jaber said:
    June 3, 2008 at 4:55 PM

    Thank you for your replay, no offend what so ever, it is healthy to have an observer opinion and try to fix things, but to be honest with you my concerns for Jordan and the world for that mater are more towards drinking water, food, health, poverty, wars rather than plastic bags at this time, each country has its priorities and we in Jordan should not just blindly follow a trend.

    Back to plastic bags I’m very aware of the problems it is causing in Jordan, such as harm to the live stock, soil and the environment, one of the solutions is to keep our garbage cans shut tight and not throwing away plastic bags were ever we please letting it travel with the wind on top of trees and other places, many plastic factories do recycle plastic bags in Jordan.

    wasapninjordan said:
    June 3, 2008 at 5:16 PM

    Jaber, i could not agree with you more. If i had prioritise, poverty, health, war, colonialism etc would be my top priority. I am new to blogging but since I have started i have started other blogs that are discussing different issues. As this is a blog about Jordan, i am talking about things that i see in Jordan and hopefully i will talk about important issues and not so important issue.
    you might find my other blogs more interesting:-)
    let me know what you think 🙂

    Moey said:
    June 4, 2008 at 12:05 AM

    I agree, a lot of plastic is going to be wasted. I even did something bout plastic bottles on my portfolio 🙂 want to see it? drop an emai

    Shadi said:
    June 15, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    I couldn’t help but reading the many replies and have to ad some of my thoughts. I recently moved back to Jordan and was surpirsed by this new practice of packing stuff for me. Now, I make it a point of saying to the people packing to please use fewer bags.
    On the same issue I’ll add and incident that happened yesterday, my wife and I bought an item from a “nature friendly” shop and to much of our delight it was packed in a paper bag. However, this little light of hope was soon blown off by placing that paper bag in a PLASTIC ONE! I refused to take it and asked her to please keep the plastic bag. With a little chat and a reminder of the shop’s message, we left her smiling and slightly more aware of the issue.
    As for the priorities that Jaber has mentioned, with water being as number one; I totally agree but have to say that a lot and a lot of water goes into industry and into the making of plastic bags. Furthermore, and as he mentioned, plastic bags end up contaminating our scarce water and other resourses like planting soil. I don’t have any solid figures but picking up 5-10 plastic bags from my backyard on daily basis, hints that recycling plastic in Jordan is way less than what it should be. The solution does not lie in “keeping our garbage cans shut” rather than using less palstic bags.
    Please do something and use less bags.

    wasapninjordan said:
    June 18, 2008 at 4:49 PM

    Using less carrier bags in my opinion is a good start 🙂 although I understand there are more important and life threatening issues that we can and should deal with.

    clear perspective said:
    January 4, 2009 at 2:02 AM

    For facts about plastic bags and their impact on the environment as well as environmental shopping strategies, visit

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s