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If you’ve been a reader for most or all of the 14-plus years Cleanzine has been broadcasting, (my goodness – this is issue no. 735!) you’ll be well aware that I’ve never wasted an opportunity to have a grumble about the damage caused to the environment by ‘single use’ plastic shopping bags.
I’ve had a car boot filled with bags that I reuse time and time again that’s been growing for at least 20 years and if you’re a manufacturer or association who’s cleverly given out logo’d cloth bags at a cleaning show I’ve attended, just imagine the value in advertising you’ve had from it – and that’s just from one user!
Naturally I was delighted when legislation meant that less environmentally-aware people were going to be encouraged to take their own bags with them when they shopped, by a 5p charge for each bag supplied by the store. The fact that the proceeds were destined for charity made things even better.
Clearly the scheme has been a huge success… figures released a few days ago revealed that six billion fewer plastic bags were taken home by shoppers in England and over £29 million was donated to good causes thanks to 5p charge – and that’s only since October!
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs says that this is the equivalent to the weight of roughly 300 blue whales, 300,000 sea turtles or three million pelicans. The difference the money will make to good causes is priceless…
Around eight million tonnes of plastic makes its way into oceans each year, posing a serious threat to our natural and marine environment – experts estimate that plastic is ingested by 31 species of marine mammals and over 100 species of sea birds. As well as keeping our precious marine life is safer, this legislation means our communities are cleaner and that future generations won’t be saddled with mountains of plastic sat, taking hundreds of years to break down, in landfill sites.
It shows small actions can make the biggest difference… but we must not be complacent as there is always more we can all do to reduce waste and recycle what we use.
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4th August 2016