KL.FM Off Air, by Christopher Dean, October 13

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It’s roughly one week on from utter chaos at the check outs….ish. From Monday 5th October, free plastic carrier bags were no longer free. They now cost 5p.

This was a law introduced in Wales a few years prior, a country often ahead of the curve on environmental issues. They introduced the smoking ban long before England, much to the annoyance of Chester FC whose stadium was so close to the Wales/England border half of the stadium was actually Welsh and half was English, meaning if you were on the Welsh side and you fancied a fag at half-time you needed to cross in to another country and buy a ticket for a different stand before lighting up (true story).

But back to the bags thing.

During the week I was in one of the big supermarkets on the Hardwick, where I saw a man getting irate about the idea of having to pay for a carrier bag. He described it as ‘political correctness gone mad’, which made both me and the cashier laugh as it made no sense whatsoever. The idea of being charged for a carrier bag is to put people off using carrier bags, which are an environmental hazard. Reusable Bags for Life help the environment, it’s that simple really.

Word of warning though for you and the family. When Wales did introduce their charge on plastic carrier bags, they saw a rise in people reusing their carrier bags – which was of course the idea of the new law. However, be aware that they also then saw a rise in cases of food poisoning; you buy some chicken breasts, and some nice rustic veg with a bit of soil still on. You unpack your shopping and put your carrier bag in to that bulging bag of carrier bags kept under the sink. Next time you pack up a lunch and take it in to work in that same carrier bag, the chicken breasts had leaked a bit and the soil contained a few small living things, and by 3pm you’ve got a dodgy stomach. In many cases it was a lot worse than just a dodgy stomach and there was a rise in some serious cases of food poisoning. I don’t have the exact stats and figures to hand so you’ll just have to trust me…I’m a doctor. (I’m not of course, I’m a radio presenter. If I were a doctor I probably would have the stats and figures to hand).

On KL.FM we discussed alternative uses for carrier bags, and concluded they are useful for pretty much everything! Keeping your bike saddle dry, emptying the cat litter tray, transporting shampoo in a suitcase when going away to avoid explosions and even making a small parachute for an action man. Very creative.

But all the above will cost you 5p now! Although 5p to watch a small plastic action man parachute off the landing down to the hallway would feel like an absolute bargain to an 8 year old me.