Plastic bags

National data shows that across the UK, supermarkets handed out over 8 billion plastic carrier bags last year!  This suggests that in Shropshire alone we get through 39 million of the things each year! 

Whilst its good news that this figure has decreased by a third since 2006 when reporting began it still means a huge amount of waste is generated every year.  In fact its been calculated that all these carrier bags result in around 70,000 tonnes of waste across the UK each year. Admittedly that is a fraction of the 22,000,000 tonnes of household waste produced annually by British homes but its still an awful lot of waste, which is avoidable, and costs Council taxpayers millions of pounds each year. 

Although many people re-use their bags and plastic bags can be recycled if you take them back to the larger supermarkets the majority still end up in landfill as such there is widespread public concern about the environmental impact of these bags.  Most plastic bags are made from polyethylene plastic which is derived from non-renewable oil and requires a lot of energy to manufacture.  Further because they don't biodegrade they can be a real nuisance with regards to litter and may impact on wildlife.  

So you can make a difference if you 'just say no' to plastic bags and get yourself a reusable bag for your shopping instead.  As they say every little helps... 


James Thompson James Thompson

Waste Prevention Officer, Waste Management, Shropshire Council

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