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Social Justice Dilemmas

Life is never easy for those of us working for social justice: fairtrade is good one week and bad the next; a sweatshop in Bangladesh is also a vital pathway out of poverty and diesel is the new toxic fuel! However, the new charge on supermarket plastic bags seems uncontroversial enough. Bags for life are definitely a good thing, right?

Absolutely. The policy fits right into the environmentalist’s mantra of reduce, re-use and recycle. Then, just to complicate things, four of the big retailers – Waitrose, Asda, Morrisons and Iceland – pledged this week to donate all money collected through the plastic bag charge to a fund fighting dementia.

As you know, the Social Justice Team at Emmanuel has recently highlighted the challenges faced by those with dementia and by those who care for them, so an initiative like this is a welcome source of funding for dementia research. But, what should we recommend?

Well, we probably shouldn’t ditch our bags for life but at least the next time we forget to bring one with us and end up forfeiting 5p for a plastic alternative we know the money is going to a cause that impacts our community widely. Oh, and don’t forget to reuse then recycle that bag too.