Morrisons should be applauded for using paper bags and Greene King for introducing cornstarch straws

Hats off to Morrisons for going with paper bags. I say this because when the news that More Reasons (as I call it) had opted to introduce a paper alternative to the plastic scourge of our times, all I heard from most people was moaning about how they might break or how they were a bit more expensive.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 5:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st January 2019, 5:58 pm
Pictures to show how Morrisons is giving customers the option of using large paper carrier bags in eight of its stores from this week. The trial is a response to customers who have told Morrisons reducing plastic is their number one environmental concern. The new US-style paper grocery bags have handles and are a similar capacity to standard plastic carrier bags. They are 100% PEFC accredited meaning they are sourced from forests that are managed responsibly. Priced at 20p each the paper grocery bags, which can be reused and ultimately recycled, are labelled 'Reusable Paper Bag'. As part of the trial, Morrisons is also increasing the price of standard plastic carrier bags from 10p to 15p to further reduce plastic use. This follows Morrisonsâ¬" removal of the 5p carrier bags early in 2018 which led to 25% reduction in overall bag sales. This 15p standard plastic carrier bag is produced in the UK and is made from recycled material reclaimed from Morrisons stores. For more information, please contact the

That may be so but the thing is, you can’t have it both ways. So, you can’t on the one hand, support moves to clean up the environment and feel aghast that countless wales and other marine creatures die horrible, needless deaths because they swallow lots of our discarded plastic waste and then on the other hand get all tetchy because a perfectly reasonable alternative might cost you 5p more.

Followers of my column (I’m given to understand that my mum reads it... sometimes) will know I’m not a believer in ‘global warming’ or the meaningless ‘climate change’ as it was rebranded when some bright spark pointed out world temperatures actually tailed off towards the back end of the 20th Century. However, my objections to this world view do not preclude me from giving a fig about the mess our species does, on a pretty much minute-by-minunte basis, to the natural world.

So when a supermarket, whose whole underlying ethos is inevitably geared towards making a profit, decides to stick its neck out and make a small but nonetheless significant gesture to improving said situation, we should back them all the way.

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I also have to take my hat off to Greene King. During a recent bar review (yes, I occasionally do them too), I lamented the fact they used plastic straws in the G&T we bought, only to receive a missive a few days later from their PR department, politely pointing out that the straws are actually made from cornstarch, which is entirely biodegradable.

They are to be applauded, as is anyone who makes a serious effort to improve such situations, because while it might be just a drop in the ocean when it comes to the overall problem, if everyone does their bit (and yes, that includes me and thee), then overall, the overall effect will be amplified.

I could, of course, go on about billion-dollar companies who should be (and could quite easily be) doing much more but perhaps once they realise which way the wind is blowing, they too will get their acts together.

What to write about?

Grrrrr. The side column bit. (If you’re reading this on the interweb, then it’s not a side column, you have to go old school and buy the actual paper for that, which I urge you to do, just to get the full experience.)

I never know what to write for this section. As a columnist you are supposed to come up with something funny or witty or astute or otherwise momentarily mentally arresting. When I took this column on, one of the sub editors urged me not to get rid of the side column and now here I am, wondering what to write in it. And moreover, you’re reading it. How does that make you feel, I wonder?


Brexit it is then.

There are many things I like about Brexit. The way it winds my colleagues up that we’re actually leaving the EU, the fact it feels like a juggernaut about to smash into a wall, the speeches, the fear and the whole melancholy existential angst it brings with it.

But by far one of the best things I’ve seen is a T-shirt, with the slogan: May The Brexit Be With You... Theresa. You have to be a Star Wars fan to understand that and you must whisper the last word for maximum effect. Well done, whoever thought of it.

I’d like to see other Brexit-based products. A tea cosy with the words ‘Keep Calm and Brexit’ on the site. A chocolate bar to replace Twix, just called Brexit and, yes, which costs £39bn. No-one will ever buy it, of course and therein lies the irony, as it’s quite possibly one of the best chocolate bars you would ever, in your life, have the pleasure of tasting. Boom! Word count made.