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Why don´t we try to use a cloth bag?

May 5, 2009

Hi mates!

I have found this interesting article in The guardian about some relevant environmental aspects and I hope it will make you reflect on our shopping habits because we are all  costumers and, after reading the article, I think it is a good start but there is a long way to go…

I still remember when my grandmother used to go to the baker´s with her cloth bag…Why don´t we go back to  that now?…

Here is the article:

Plastic bag charge hailed as a huge success

Marks & Spencers’ 5p charge on carrier bags has seen an 80% reduction in their use in the first year

Comments (24)

Jim Royle of BBC’s The Royle Family was scandalised at the thought of paying 5p for a carrier bag, but the introduction of charges for single-use bags has been a huge success, according to figures from high street retailers.

They reveal that high profile campaigns and fashion-statement alternatives to plastic, combined with charges and incentives such as Green loyalty points have helped some retailers cut bag use by as much as 85%.

Since launching a 5p charge for food bags last May as part of its Plan A scheme to reduce waste, Marks & Spencers says the number of bags taken to cart posh ready meals home has fallen by 80%, from 460m bags a year to 80m. The National Trust, which introduced a charge on 1 May last year in its shops and garden centres, has managed to slash plastic bag usage by 85%, or 1m bags a year. It said just 5% of its customers were now taking the disposable option.

“We are really pleased at how quickly customers have reacted and adapted their shopping habits by investing in durable alternatives in which to carry their purchases,” said the National Trust’s Stuart Richards, adding that in the trust’s shops, sales of reusable jute bags have soared as plastic bag use has fallen away.

Marks & Spencer has also managed to persuade its customers to remember to take along their own bags when they hit the shops. “The main driver for the reduction is people bringing in an alternative bag, either a plastic bag for life or cloth bag with them when they shop with us and we have encouraged them to do so through regular bag for life giveaways,” a spokeswoman said.

M&S is among 22 high street names that signed up to a target of reducing the environmental impact of bag use by 25% by the end of last year. They managed to exceed the target, cutting waste by 40%, and are now working towards halving bag use from 2006 levels by the end of May. While some opted to charge for bags, others went for a carrot rather than a stick.

Retailers who have incentivised customers to reuse bags have also seen success. Tesco, which offers one Green point to its clubcard customers for every bag they reuse, says it has cut bag use by 50% since it launched the scheme in August 2006, saving 3bn bags in the process. In the past year alone, 1.8bn bags have been saved. Sainsbury’s, which has also offered extra loyalty points to customers, will not reveal how many bags it has saved, but says experiments such as sending text messages to customers to remind them to bring a bag when they go shopping had proved successful.

Figures from the Waste & Resources Action Programme show the total number of bags in circulation fell from 13.4bn in 2006 to 9.9bn last year, however that still represents 400 per household. The Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs recently launched the “get a bag habit” campaign to remind people to reuse bags rather than hoarding them in drawers and under the sink. It estimates the voluntary targets set by retailers will result in a reduction of around 5bn bags a year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will eventually save 130,000 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to taking 41,000 cars off the road each year.

Article from:

Here you are the questions:

  • Do you know other countries where they have been charging for bags for years?
  • Do you use any “regular bag” for shopping?… If not, why?
  • Can you give any suggestions for getting ” good bag habits” or reducing plastic bag use?
  • Can you imagine the government adopting different measures to reducing our garbage volume?
One Comment leave one →
  1. Beatriz Forés Masip permalink
    May 12, 2009 12:05 am

    Comment by Beatriz Forés

    I don’t know if there are any countries in which bags for shopping are being charged. What I know is that in Spain and other countries there are some retailers, usually with lower prices products, that make the customer to pay for bags.

    On the one hand I agree with the idea that not only should we recycle the packaging and bags we use to buy products but we should also reduce the waste they produce.
    What I do for reducing plastic bags use is, for regular buys, to go to the supermarket with my trolley and I just take a bag for the fish or for things that don’t fit in the trolley .(that could even be reduced).
    For small buys, a friend of mine who lives in Paris gave me a nylon bag which can be folded into another one made of the same material no bigger than a tobacco packet in order you could put it in your handbag or your pocket. So whatever you are you can buy without wasting more plastic bags or having to go home for your trolley. This nylon bag has the trade-mark of the retailer “monoprix” with the slogan “Agissons pour demain tous les jours” that could be nearly “We behave (think, act) for tomorrow every day” and in the small one: ”on fait quoi pour vous aujourd’hui?” that means “What can we do for you today?” I think they sell these bags very cheaper. This is a good ecologic marketing strategy and a good way of saving money for the companies but also is good for the environment.

    On the other hand the packages of the products have been increased a lot of in the last years in order to be more safety and useful but also to be cheaper and easier for the companies to transport. The governments should make the companies innovate in less and less pollutant packaging.

    So it is a matter of all society to make the effort to reduce our garbage volume and not to do just the easiest and cheapest thing.

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