Carrier bag usage reduced

October 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm

UK supermarkets and consumers have reduced the use of carrier bags by 41% since records began in 2006, compared to a 35% reduction in 2009, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The total number used in 2006 was 10.9 billion and this has since been reduced to 6.5 billion a year in 2009/10. These findings include bags-for-life, re-usable and single-use bags. It also means that the material used in carrier bags has decreased by 39,700 tonnes a year.

WRAP conducted a spot-check analysis of bag use throughout May this year. It found that 395 million less bags were used in May 2010 compared to the same month in 2006.

In 2008, the government, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and leading supermarkets made an agreement to apply a voluntary approach in order to try and cut the number of single bags given out to customers by 50% by spring 2009. The results of this target were announced by WRAP with a reduction of 48% achieved.

After the agreement to halve carrier bag use was made and all but met in 2009, monitoring has continued during 2010 without any formal targets being set. But the annual trend has shown that a reduction has continued by weight and numbers since 2006, according to WRAP.

The BRC added that the continued reduction of single-bag use for the fourth year in a row had been achieved at a time when customers were focusing on the economy instead of the environment.

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