Single Use Carrier Bags Charge

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From tomorrow, The Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Scotland) Regulations 2014 will automatically assume that everyone in Scotland who requires a new carrier bag to take goods away is either intending to commit a littering offence or contribute it to landfill immediately.

The law isn't simply concerned with waste plastic as it covers paper bags too, and explicitly "multiple use" bags require more plastic. The intent appears to be to reduce the number and change the type of bags in circulation. A total ban would be more effective.

It's unlikely to help reduce littering, that would defeat the point of having a bag to carry goods away. The majority of visible litter appears to be in the form of used food and drink containers. People who litter don't care about the effect it has, don't consider their actions to be wrong, and won't be impacted financially by an extra 5p charge per bag. A ban on smoking would eliminate a lot more litter than the tiny percentage caused by carrier bags.

Only "single use" bags are affected under the regulations. Any bag labelled for "multiple reuse" and infinitely replaced by the manufacturer when worn out does not attract a charge, even if the purchaser throws the bag out the car window when they leave the store. Bags as thick as 50 micrometers or more also do not attract a charge, so don't forget your digital callipers when shopping.

The current "single use" bags can already be reused dozens of times. For the consumer a 5p charge still makes them the best value option. To encourage use of more efficient bags, the "multiple use" bags would have to be free.

Nothing in the regulations requires charging for "multiple use" bags, and these bags must be replaced free of charge forever. Driven by the need to maintain a supply of replacement free bags supermarkets may eventually stop providing "single use" bags (which they will make no profit from) and only provide "multiple reuse" bags that are priced to cover all the replacements.

Thicker bags have to be used 4-5 times as much as the thinner bags they replace to offset the extra environmental impact.

Rhubarb

This rhubarb has grown quite large after only a month:
Two rhubarb plants in pots

Let There Be Light

The garage electricity supply had been unusable for a while; there appeared to be a fault somewhere on the supply cable (which was only protected by some discontinuous piping) causing it to frequently short out and trip the circuit breaker.

A new armoured cable has now been laid and I've replaced the customer unit. I now have working lights in the garage and the garden with plenty of scope for future electricity use up to 63A... there are now extra sockets, including some outside for the lawn mower.

[Armoured cable with outer layer partially stripped] [Armoured cable with armour layer cut] [Armoured cable fitted to gland with inner layer stripped]
[Garage consumer unit with supply armoured cable fitted] [Powered garage consumer unit] [Electricity meter board with garage supply switch]

Happy New Towel Rail

Happy New Year! Towel Rail.

[Kitchen Towel Rail]

Raspberries

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One of the raspberry plants in my garden had some raspberries on it:
Three raspberries

Plums

The tree in my garden has lots of delicious ripe plums on it:
Basket of plums

New House

I've moved house (still in Dalgety Bay).
There are now cables running everywhere - in the loft,
under the floor,
and extra sockets in the wall.
A new satellite dish provides Freesat service.
There are three bedrooms (so I now have a guest room as well as computer room) and a separate dining room.

ASDA's experiments with soap

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When my local ASDA stopped selling their "Smart Price" soap I had to buy it from other ASDAs or get other people to buy it for me. This worked ok for a while but then they changed to poor quality soap that falls apart. Based on the list of ingredients, when they make soap with Sodium Palmate it stays together but when they make it from Sodium Tallowate it falls apart. They now have other variants in my local ASDA that don't fall apart.

Comparison of all three soaps
Original soapNew soapBetter soap
IngredientsOriginal Smart Price soap (Sodium Palmate)New Smart Price soap (Sodium Tallowate)Better soap (Sodium Palmate)
Used exampleOriginal Smart Price soap (intact)New Smart Price soap (in several pieces)Better soap (intact)

The Usual Suspects

With strong winds forecast I've made sure none of my bins try to escape this time:

Four bins tied to a fence

Update: With some new Velcro straps the bins are now attached separately:

Four bins individually strapped to a fence
[Euros Cherrueix 2012]

A few weeks ago I was in Cherrueix, France to watch the Scottish team compete. I took plenty of photos and video of the event (with multiple cameras). The top 10 looks different from usual with France not even in the top three countries.

I took most of the photos from along the pit/technical area but went north towards the sea on the last race:
[My GPS track at Cherrueix]

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Content authored by myself is just my honest opinion. If you find any words or pictures menacing or offensive, stop reading now.

Jabber

simon@arlott.org.uk
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