Government campaigns for plastic bag reuseDefra urges shoppers to use bags again

07 April 2009

shopping at the supermarket

Plastic bags take hundreds of years to break down

A new government campaign launched today is urging shoppers to reuse their plastic bags in a bid to cut the billions of bags handed out each year.

The ‘get a bag habit’ campaign from the environment department Defra and the British Retail Consortium, follows voluntary agreements by seven major supermarkets - Asda, the Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose – to reduce carrier bag use.

Tips to reuse your plastic bags

A YouGov poll of almost 2,500 shoppers, aimed at providing ‘top tips’ on remembering to reuse plastic bags, found that 49% who reuse plastic bags keep them in their car and almost a third keep them in their handbag.

Other tips from the 'get a bag habit' campaign include putting your bags near the front door so you don’t forget them and asking your employer if you can set up a bag dispenser at work so people can take bags at lunchtime.

Take a look at some other ideas from Which? for greener living, including how to use less electricity and water, 20 simple changes you can make to your lifestyle.

Supermarkets cut plastic bag use

Supermarkets like Asda, the Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose have been successful in cutting the number of plastic bags handed out by more than a quarter since 2006.

The new target agreed by the supermarkets is to cut the number of single use plastic bags handed out by half by the end of May.

Defra says consumers get through an average of more than 160 new carrier bags each year - mounting up to 13,000 in their lifetimes.

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