There are 2.2 billion reasons why it’s time to take matters into our own hands.  Two point two BILLION plastic bags of a reason why we need to strike out – and now. No more waiting for ego-centric politicians to trip over their own ballot collecting shopping trolleys and penalize us into action.

2.2 billion. That’s 275 plastic bags per person per year, used for an average of 20 minutes. You may think they are “free” right now, but they actually cost us, the consumer, 80 million shekels annually.

The first attempt to limit the use of plastic bags was way back in 2008.  Six years later and our elected leaders are stumbling over their own dramatic sense of importance to get the relatively simple law through. Thanks but no thanks Mr. Peretz, Miri Regev and Mr. Prime Minister.

So here’s the thing; we don’t need a law. The main players are already on board:

  • 65% of the population is in favor of restricting the use of plastic bags.
  • The major supermarket chains have signed an undertaking to issue us with our ‘free’ re-usable recyclable shopping bags.
  • The Electricity Company is ready to send us, alongside our swollen winter bills, vouchers to pick up these free bags from the supermarket of our choice.
  • Heck, the government has already gone ahead with a personality-led advertising campaign to get us all ‘addicted’ to the idea.

All that is needed is some socio-commercial cooperation, but mainly for you, dear customer, to say “No thanks I’ve got my own”, snubbing those pathetic flimsy plastic bags for your own sturdy, durable fellows that will each loyally hold 20 kilos of goodies.

The Brits did it. In the UK, co-operation between consumers and major retailers has reduced consumption by 32%. Figures from other countries show that a law will increase this to a 70% or more reduction, obviously preferable, but usage of 700,000,000 less plastic bags through social and commercial co-operation is a great start.

Yes, some people do re-use those insubstantial carriers as garbage bags, but that doesn’t speed up the rate at which they decompose on our waste sites or in our land-fills.  Better to use a specially made bio-degradable refuse sack for that.

I like to think that we, the people, are less ego-driven than our inflated politicians, aren’t we?  We care more about our country than our own self-interest, don’t we? We don’t need the politicians to do something for our country if we can do it ourselves with such little effort, do we?

By my estimates, every house in Israel has one of those hideous IKEA carrier bag holders stuffed with plastic bags.  Grab a good handful before you head out to the supermarket and use them again and again.  Better still, equip yourself with six or so reusable bags at a cost of about 20 shekels from most major chains. It’s not THAT hard to remember to bring them from the car and they are a whole lot easier to carry than the hand-cutting plastic ‘vests’.

Scr*w the politicians and their childish posturing.  There are times when people power is enough.