Who thinks very hard about carrier bags, nobody actually, unless you need one then they are really quite important.
Who really know which type of carrier bag is more environmentally friendly. Can you get fifty flimsy degradable carrier bags out of the same amount of material that is used to make a non degradable carrier bag that you can use fifty times? If a bag can be used fifty times will it be used fifty times? Or does it get filled with rubbish and taken to the amemity tip and discarded into the landfill?
A lot of people think that a paper carrier bags are more environmentally friendly than a polythene carrier bag. Is this right? It takes quite a lot of energy to make paper and not that much energy to make polythene. Have you you seen the size of the parcels that the paper carrier bags come in? From what I can see of it you can get about 2500 polythene carrier bags in the same cubic area as 250 paper carrier bags. On this basis when you think of big lorries drinking a gallon of diesel every eight miles you would only get 20% (one fifth) of the number of paper carrier bags on that lorry. This means to move the same number of bags 5 lorries of paper carrier bags equals 1 lorry of polythene carrier bags.
Polythene carrier bags can always be made degradable and can also go for recycling into more polythene bags usually black refuse sacks. Maybe all sacks that go in landfill should be made of paper or by act of parliament made of degradable material. There again how much polythene / plastic is used in the world to make carrier bags and black sacks? Is it noticeable by comparison with what is use to make other commodities. Surely the key to the use of our planets natural resources is, if we must use the planets natural resources in the first place, is how do we prolong the life of the natural resource once we have borrowed from the planet. Whatever the commodity.