Supermarkets Handing Out Nearly Half As Many Carrier Bags As In 2006

Customers at Britain’s major supermarket chains are using nearly half the number of plastic carrier bags as they were four years ago, according to the Waste &Resources Action Programme (Wrap).
New figures from Wrap reveal that the number of carrier bags being used by supermarket shoppers has fallen by 43 per cent over the last four years – from 10.6 billion in 2006 (when figures were first recorded) to 6.1 billion in 2009/10.
They also show that the amount of material used to produce the bags has been slashed by more than half over the same period.
The BRC said: “This is a tremendous achievement by supermarkets and customers to reduce environmental impact.”
Stephen Robertson, the BRC’s director general, said the latest figures show that shoppers are “permanently adopting the habit of re-using their bags “.
He added: “Retailers are working hard on a range of other environmental measures, such as reducing food waste, reducing and redesigning packaging, as well as providing customers with recycling information through the on-pack recycling label.”
A spokesman for Marks and Spencer, one of seven retailers that in 2008 pledged to reduce the number of bags given to customers, said: “Last year we used 89 million single-use carrier bags in our food business – over 80 per cent less than 2006/07.”
“This has been achieved by encouraging customers to re-use, use bags for life and charging 5p per carrier bag. Across our stores, carrier bag use is down by 64 per cent since 2006.”