Facts about supermarket carrier bags

Topic Selected: Waste and Recycling

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The litter argument

  • There is no correlation between the number of bags used and the number that get littered. The number of littered bags depends on the number of thoughtless or careless people who discard them.
  • Carrier bags are NOT a significant cause of litter. According to Keep Britain Tidy’s Local Environment Quality Survey (LEQS) reports, supermarket carrier bags were present at only 4% of sites surveyed in 2010/11, down from 7% in 2003/04 – and therefore not present at 96% of sites. It should be noted that even at those 4% of sites where carrier bags were present, there may only have been a single bag.
  • Two years after the introduction in 2002 of a levy on plastic carrier bags in Ireland (introduced ostensibly to solve a litter problem) they still constituted 0.22% of litter according to the Irish Litter Monitoring Body. In the latest report, 2010, shopping bags (presumably of all types) are shown as 0.25%. In the UK in 2004 all

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