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Ways to Reduce Your Carrier Bag Usage
Recently though, there has been a lot of talk in the news about the introduction of a 5p charge on single use plastic carrier bags in the UK. This introduction will come into effect from October 5th 2015.
Scotland and Wales introduced such measures several years ago and some supermarkets in the UK have been doing so since 2014. When the measures were introduced in Scotland, carrier bag usage was reduced by 147 million in only 11 weeks. When Wales introduced the measures back in 2011 the 5p charge for bags helped reduce carrier bag usage by 78%. So it is clear a carrier bag levy helps to reduce the impact bags have on our lives but this is without resistance.
Why is this important though?
Well, thin-gauge, single-use carrier bags tend not to be very bio-degradable which means when they are thrown away they don’t rot down into the ground and therefore become part of the ecosystem. Once they are thrown away they are of no further use and they aren’t very good for the environment. There are also the effects on CO2 emissions during the manufacture of these bags to consider. Reducing plastic bag usage will provide serious environmental benefits and will help to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill or litter on our streets.
What can we do to start reducing Carrier Bag Usage?
With or without any bag charge introduction it makes good, environment sense to start limited our own usage of plastic single use carrier bags. This can be done in a number of small simple ways which basically require a little thought and forward planning when we go about our daily lives.
Use Reusable Bags
The first way to reduce your own carrier bag usage is to invest in some reusable shopping bags and stop using the single use bags all together. These types of bags are generally not made of plastic, they are a lot stronger, hold more and in the long term provide better value for money. For this to be effective you need to have it with you at all times when shopping.
Consider reusing the carrier bags you already have
Next time you go shopping consider taking your old carrier bags with you and reusing them. This way you will be able to get multiple uses out of the bags before they become useless and are thrown away.
Some supermarkets that offer home delivery services will collect old, unwanted carrier bags and reuse them for other deliveries. This practise reduces the amount of useless bags thrown out by the household but also reduces the cost to the business as they don’t need as many replacement bags.
The introduction of the carrier bag charge cannot be avoided so it is important that we start to re-adjust and re-assess our reliance on these bags. Like it or not there will be a financial cost to us for their continued use.
With a levy charge in place, if a household were to use 20 bags a week at a cost of 5p each, this would equate to a spend of £52 a year on useless bags. Considering that it was recently reported many household may use up to 40 bags a week the cost savings can be much more.
Making small adjustments now will help smooth the impact of such charges later and hopefully have a positive impact on our environment.