We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Plastic Bag Use on the Decline

July 5, 2008 8:21 PM
Plastic bags caught in trees

Plastic bags adorn the trees near Sainsbury's

Following the Lib Dem Motion to Council and leaflet campaign, there have been notable changes in recent weeks.

M & S have hit exactly the right note, asking customers "have you brought a bag with you today". Sainsbury are still supplying plastic bags but their reuseable bags are now placed alongside the plastic bags at the end of the checkouts, instead of being hidden away. Wilkinsons, among others, are selling cheap reuseable bags. When one of the Lib Dem councillors refused a plastic bag at Lester Bowden, she was offered a reuseable one free of charge. The butcher in Upper High Street is using bio-degradable plastic bags and will wrap up produce in paper rather than plastic if you ask and his polystyrene is recyclable, though sadly not in this borough as yet.

However, the onus is still very much on the customer to refuse the plastic bag, rather than the stores to refuse to supply them. Furthermore, it's vital to have a reuseable bag to hand at all times : the Sainsbury and Wilkinson ones which are handbag-sized when poppered together are invaluable.

It really can be done, but it's still very much up to the customer to be pro-active about NOT wanting them, and some checkout assistants have been quite surly when their plastic bag has been refused. However, there is without doubt an increased understanding of the issues involved, particularly the damage these items cause to wildlife and marine mammals.

The message to our retailers is please adopt the M & S approach - ask customers if they have brought a bag with them and if the answer is "no", have a cheap reuseable bag available for purchase. The message to shoppers is please refuse plastic bags if offered and be prepared to spend 30p or so on a reuseable bag if you've forgotten to bring one along. Interestingly, the national press reported this week that sales of shopping trolleys are on the increase and you don't need a bag at all if you've got one of those, obviously!

If we all join in the plastic-bag-free campaign, Epsom can quickly become an example to other towns and wouldn't we be proud of ourselves?