News Limited papers have been writing of a charge of up to $1 per plastic bag, painting it a little more than a tax slug. Environment minister Peter Garrett was quick to rule out the possibility, saying that “under no circumstances” would the government introduce a bag tax.

Green groups that might have been expected to support anything punitive against bags, say the tax would be too much.

Consumers are believed to be demanding green retailing, but not all do so with equal fervour.

A UK government department has recently segmented consumers into seven groups according to their willingness to act and potential to do more for their environment.

  • Positive greens – 18% of the population. “I think we need to do some things differently to tackle climate change. I do what I can and I feel bad about the rest.”
  • Waste watchers – 12% of the population. “’Waste not, want not’ that’s important, you should live life thinking about what you’re doing and using.”
  • Concerned consumers – 14% of the population. “I think I do more than a lot of people. Still, going away is important, I’d find that hard to give up…well I wouldn’t, so carbon offsetting would make me feel better.”
  • Sideline supporters – 14% of the population. “I think climate change is a big problem for us. I suppose I don’t think much about how much water or electricity I use, and I forget to turn things off… I’d like to do a bit more.”
  • Cautious participants – 14% of the population. “I do a couple of things to help the environment. I’d really like to do more…well as long as I saw others were.”
  • Stalled starters – 10% of the population. “I don’t know much about climate change. I can’t afford a car so I use public transport…I’d like a car though.”
  • Honestly disengaged – 18% of the population. “Maybe there’ll be an environmental disaster, maybe not. Makes no difference to me, I’m just living my life the way I want to.”

This article originally appeared in retail newsletter, Brandish.