Friday, July 17, 2009

Good for the Brits

This is great! All of the Brits I know have been carrying their shopping bags to market for as long as I can remember and it prompted me to do so as well years ago...long before it started to happen with any regularity here. I couldn't count the number of strange looks I have gotten over the years from clerks and other shoppers when I proffered my own reusable bags. Still today my favorite shopping bag is one I got as a gift from a British friend which has M&S (Marks & Spencer)stenciled on the side. It holds a ton and has strong hard plastic handles. It probably holds the equivalent of 5 regular plastic shopping bags. I get compliments on it from store clerks all the time.
It began in 2007 with a few traders in the small town of Modbury in Devon refusing to give out plastic bags. But yesterday their small green revolution reached a national milestone: British shoppers have nearly halved the number of single-use bags they get through.

Figures from Wrap, the government's waste and resources programme, show that whereas 870m single-use plastic bags were handed out in the UK in May 2006, the figure for May 2009 was down to 450m – a 48% reduction, and 4,740 tonnes to send to landfill against 8,890 tonnes in May 2006.

Nationwide rejection of the bags, which take up to 1,000 years to decompose and clog drains and pollute oceans, followed a government challenge to retailers to voluntarily halve bag use by June 2009.
I am actually surprised that so many are still used in the UK.Like I said above, every Brit I know has been using reusable bags for years and years. It is starting to catch on here and some progressive stores like Whole Foods actually give you a small discount when you use your own bags. I bet more people would use their own if you were charged a quarter for each bag used.

Regardless, great job you guys.

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