Drastic drop in plastic bag use in UK

Posted by James Ferre on 14th August 2008

The use of disposable plastic bags is in steep decline as shoppers in their thousands switch to permanent shopping bags in the United Kingdom, according to Tesco.
Tesco, the leading UK retailer, has reported that customers have saved a staggering two billion carrier bags since Green Clubcard Points were launched in August 2006. The Green Clubcard Points system, which operates like a loyalty rewards system whereby consumers are awarded points for “putting the environment first”, has been one of the drivers behind a 40% drop in carrier bag use than for the same period two years ago.

“We have helped our customers cut bag use by 40% without a bag tax adding to the cost of their weekly shop. In fact, our Green Clubcard scheme helps people save on their shopping bills,” Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Corporate and Legal Affairs Director, claimed. “Our customers have shown us how keen they are to break this environmentally-damaging habit of a lifetime – the “carrot” approach clearly works. It took more than 14 months to save the first billion bags but the second billion was achieved in less than 9 months, showing that the trend is rapidly gaining support.”

“Even the most committed greenies occasionally forget to bring their shopping bags with them, so there will always be carrier bags available free of charge. We want to help our customers remember to reuse their bags, rather than punish them when they forget,” Ms Neville-Rolfe added.

The supermarket has sent its 12 million Clubcard customers a new key fob which carries a reminder to bring their bags with them and brought in a fashion designer to help design some of their reusable bags.