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UK cuts plastic carrier use by almost 50%
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The UK’s leading supermarkets have cut the number of single-use carrier bags used by 48% since 2006, according to an announcement by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) last week.
UK cuts plastic carrier use by almost 50%

This is against a target of 50% set by the Scottish Government, Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government, and the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment in agreement with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and its supermarket members in 2008.

During the month of May 2006, the number of single-use carrier bags used by retailers participating in the agreement was 870 million. This figure fell to 450 million in May 2009 – a total reduction of 420 million. If the level of usage continued for a year this would be equivalent to an annual consumption of 5.6 billion single use bags, compared to 10.7 billion in 2006¹.

These reductions in single use bags have been achieved through a collective effort in all parts of the UK, with Scotland and Wales leading with a 49% reduction, while England acheived 48% and Northern Ireland 38%.

For all bags (including bags for life and reusable bags), the total weight in May 2009 was 4,740 tonnes. This compares to 8, 890 tonnes in May 2006 – a reduction of 47%.

Participating retailers in the agreement are: Asda, Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose.

Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP CEO said: “The overall 48% reduction in single use carrier bags by the participating retailers demonstrates the continued rate of progress in this area, despite falling just short of the target figure. WRAP will continue to work alongside industry to deliver further reductions.”

Credits:: An alternative to plastic bags, made from hard wearing, breathable nylon net.

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