8 Aug 2011

Plastic bag use on the rise

Some 18 months ago I wrote a long blog entitled 'Should Stroud go Plastic Bag free?' - see here - well I've just come back from the Coop where I forgot my reusable bags and came away with two plastic bags - a rare occurrence and always one tainted with guilt - but made worse by the fact that this year plastic bag use is back on the rise after several years of falling away - see Guardian here.

Photo: Plastic bags in hedge - known to some as Witches Knickers

While in many ways plastic bag reduction is a sideshow - it is far more important what other stuff we are buying and throwing away - we need to look at the whole picture. Plastic bags are after all less than half a percent of our domestic rubbish - there are some concerns that it can lead to people purshasing different plastic for their rubbish or other unsustainable bags....but hey I've covered that in that blog 18 months ago. Anyway I welcome moves in Wales where shoppers will be charged 5p per bag from this October. Northern Ireland and Scotland are also looking at it. In Wales, the imminent charge may have helped to cut bag use – the total was down by 7% last year, compared with the rise in England and Scotland. But please let's not get distracted - we need to look at the wider picture of our waste and consumption. Reducing plastic bags is great but we have much more to do.

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