OPINION: Happy to bag the plastic

MY MEMORY of plastic shopping bags goes back to the very beginning.

The days of the single-use plastic bags may be numbered, as the NSW parliament contemplates a proposal to phase them out, but it's a miracle they have lasted as long as they have.

Back in the last century (it must have been about 1981) when I was a spotty teenager, I got my first job packing groceries at Coles in Tamworth.

When I started the groceries went into brown paper bags that seemed to work pretty efficiently.

Sure, they could become a little flimsy if condensation built up on the outside of cold groceries, but they were easy to use.

In my time at the end of the checkout (remember when there was a checkout operator punching in the price - no scanning - and another just packing the bags), plastic bags replaced the paper bags.

To be honest, the first plastic bags were hopeless and split far too easily. You had to pack less in a bag so they would hold together, and, hey presto, just as the suppliers undoubtedly wanted, that meant you had to use more bags.

Since that day we have had far too many plastic bags in our society, but it shouldn't take politicians to tell us to stop using them. There are plenty of multi-use bags on the market. It's just a matter of commitment over convenience.

And if you look hard enough you can even buy paper bags for you groceries.

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