Britons seem to be changing their shopping habits, nearly halving the number of plastic bags they use. Since 2006 Britain’s biggest supermarkets have reduced the monthly hand out of bags by 48 percent. Figures show some 418 million fewer plastic carriers are being used each month, just shy of the government’s target of 50 percent.
Despite only narrowly missing their goal the cut is being seen as a major success. Richard Swannell, director of retail & organics at WRAP, the government’s waste and resources programme said: “The key thing is we got very close to the target. What happens next is over the next 12 months we will monitor progress towards actually seeing how far we can get as a society, you know, we’re nearly at 50%, how much further can we go? How much further can supermarkets help us to get to and this time next year we’re going to monitor again and see what progress we’ve made.” With bags taking up to a thousand years to decompose some EU countries have introduced charges to discourage use. Environmentalists say the bags pose a serious danger to wildlife with most ending up in landfill sites.