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Topic - UKC Zero Plastic Bags for 2007 Challenge

Every year, an estimated 17.5 billion plastic bags are given away by supermarkets. This is equivalent to over 290 bags for every person in the UK.

The average plastic bag has a life span of 20 minutes.


Source - http://www.wasteonline.org.uk

A tax has been introduced in the south of Ireland which overnight reduced the use of plastic bags by 90%. Here is Tony Blair’s response to this -

“I have to say that the line on this is we have no plans to introduce such a tax. You obviously keep all these things under consideration, the question is whether it would work or not, it is important that we look at the evidence from Ireland, but it is also important that we take into account the views of consumers as well. I think there is a lot of work however we are doing with some of the main supermarkets and others in order to try to reduce the packaging and therefore to protect the environment, but we do not at present have any plans to introduce a plastic bag tax.”

So it doesn’t look like the Government are going to do much.

UKC Zero Plastic Bags for 2007 Challenge

In the James-Louwerse household we have managed for the last three months to operate on virtually no new plastic bags and our aim is to reduce this figure to zero for the whole of 2007 (and then beyond once we get used to it). The impact of the James-Louwerse family is only 1450 bags over the whole year (based on the figure at the top of the page) so we thought we might try and see if we could make a more significant impact by extending this challenge to UKClimbing readers.

24,000 registered users all NOT using 290 bags during the year = 6,960,000 bags!

Now that has got to be worth aiming for.

The idea is that you manage to last the whole of 2007 without accepting any plastic bag from any retailer. To do this you need to either carry what you bought, or use bags you already own. If you do get caught out then any bag you accept must be re-used at least five times for it not to count towards your total. Be wary of trying to re-use a normal flimsy supermarket bag five times - most won't last that long. A better idea is to purchase a stronger bag at the checkout.

Problem areas
During the last few months we have noticed that there are some places that you can get caught out. Having some bags in the car permanently is a good idea. Keeping one of those bag storage devices in the kitchen is also a useful way to make sure you re-use.

1) Some shops insist on bags to avoid you getting picked up by the store detective. This is nonsense and you can just use your receipt. If they still insist then leave the bag at the till nearest the door.

2) Supermarket online ordering. A tricky one! They always use far too many bags and it could prove impossible to stop them and still get your order properly. We suggest either un-bag the stuff while the delivery person is there and give them the bags back, or do it on the next delivery. They will probably still get binned though.

3) Fruit and veg plastic bags in greengrocers and supermarkets. Another tricky one. Often you don't actually need a bag. If you do then some GGs supply paper bags. Of course getting yourself organised and re-using the bags is the best idea.

Sign-up for the challenge via this thread and we will keep checking through the year.

Alan
UKC
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