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Thursday, July 31, 2008

I popped around the corner at lunchtime today with a fiver from the pharmacy tea fund. I'd been officially granted a ten-minute extension to my lunch hour if I agreed to buy us some milk. Drug-dependent patients can wait a few minutes, but frankly if we don't get our tea, the whole NHS could grind to a halt. So I visited the Co-op near my flat. Unfortunately they've recently introduced an admirable scheme to save the planet by refusing to give anyone carrier bags. Which is not the news you want to hear when you're standing at the checkout with twelve pints of semi-skimmed.

As luck would have it however, the chap on the till immediately saw my predicament, and told me that I could have a carrier bag. In exchange for 6p. I thought about it, mentally called him a name, and agreed.

As it turned out though, my 6p didn't just buy me a carrier bag. Oh no. It bought me 'The Co-operative Bag: Designed to Compost Completely in the Garden'. According to the info printed on the side, "This bag turns into compost - just like potato peelings".

Frankly it might as well have been made from potato peelings. If you're wondering how it's possible to make a serviceable carrier bag from materials you can compost in the garden, the answer is it's not. I paid 6p for something which makes a Smart Price food bag look like it's made from industrial strength rubber. It's a bit like the bags you put your apples in at the supermarket, only not as strong. I made it as far as the door of the shop before the handles broke and my milk went all over the floor. It's a good job it's biodegradable, because it's currently lying in shreds on the ground outside the Co-op.