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Carrier Bags

Before the 5p charge was introduced, the average household used around 140 single-use plastic carrier bags a year, and this has now been reduced to four according to figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).[1]

Although the government statistics seem pleased with this reduction this does not account for the increased numbers of the heavier duty “bag for life” bags bought. How many of these are being treated as single use plastic bags?

A very simple step is to ensure you take your reusable bags with you when shopping.

I understand the frustration when having just popped into the shop to buy a couple of things to realise you have left your bag at home. How about this week ensuring you create a stash of bags in your car, handbag and by the front door for those occasions when you pop out?

The Environment Agency also state “The key to reducing the impact of all carrier bags is to reuse them as much as possible and where reuse for shopping is not practical, secondary reuse in application such as bin liners is beneficial.”[2] Making sure any bags you have are used as many times as possible is key to reducing their impact - a bag for life needs to be used 4 times[3] to ensure it is a better purchase than a single use plastic bag. Using bags as bin liners also helps reduce their impact as new bin bags are not then needing to be produced.

Such a simple step to take your bags - it is just all about being prepared.




[1] War on plastic pollution stepped up with expanded plastic bag charge - Defra in the media (

[2] scho0711buan-e-e.pdf (

[3] scho0711buan-e-e.pdf (

52 small steps carrier bags.jpg
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