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I haven't been to Tesco for a few weeks, but last night at the checkout it was bemusing to see that the plastic bags were about the size of a piece of A4 paper. I asked whether they had any larger ones, but the woman who scanned my shopping gave me the impression that there weren't. This didn't bother me too much as I wasn't doing a big shop, but the guy next to me who had bought at least 16 pints of milk looked distinctly hacked off as he crammed his purchases into the tiny bags.

I haven't been to Tesco for a few weeks, but last night at the checkout it was bemusing to see that the plastic bags were about the size of a piece of A4 paper. I asked whether they had any larger ones, but the woman who scanned my shopping gave me the impression that there weren't. This didn't bother me too much as I wasn't doing a big shop, but the guy next to me who had bought at least 16 pints of milk looked distinctly hacked off as he crammed his purchases into the tiny bags.

This looks like a Nudge from Tesco, presumably to encourage customers to bring their own (preferably jute or organic cotton) bags to the supermarket with them (or like my Dad, devise a complex system of fold-up crates to transfer your bag-less shopping from supermarket-trolley to car-boot to kitchen). Disposable polythene bags get bad press primarily because they end up as visible and persistent litter, and because manufacturing them (or pretty much anything come to that) releases pollutants. Neither of these problems is solved by providing slightly smaller plastic bags, and neither have too much to do with mitigating climate change.

If this is a Nudge (rather than a mistake at the factory) - it's a bad one because it will have the opposite effect to its intention. Last night as I looked around at Tesco, most people were forced to use more bags than they would normally, because there was no messaging at the till about the change, and no opportunity to buy a non-disposable bag instead. Tesco have even removed at a stroke the only saving grace of dispoable bags, as these tiny ones are far too small to be re-used as bin liners.

Anyway, I may still be suffering from the Lovelock effect from Monday, but instead of using annoying nudges to change their customer's behaviour on an issue that doesn't really matter anyway, I wish Tesco would concentrate on implementing their promise to reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities instead.

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