Carrier bags still causing headache for the environment

Published on Thursday, 28 July 2011 15:55
Posted by Scott Buckler

A total of 6.4 billion single-use bags were used by supermarket customers across the UK in 2010, it was reported today by WRAP (July 28th)

The figure compares with 10.7 billion single-use bags being used in 2006 when figures were first recorded (an overall reduction of 40%). However, it represents a 5% increase compared to the total number of single-use bags used in 2009/2010 when 6.1 billion bags were used.

The figures show that on average people now use 8.6 single-use bags per month, compared to 14.7 bags per month back in 2006 and 8.2 bags per month between June 2009 and May 2010. There are differences across the nations of the UK with Northern Ireland recording the lowest bag use per person.

Overall, a total of 6.8 billion carrier bags (including single-use, bags-for-life and reusable bags such as those made from cotton and jute) were used in 2010. This figure compares with 10.9 billion bags being used in 2006 (an overall reduction of 37%).  However, it represents a 6% increase compared to the total number of bags used in 2009/2010 when 6.5 billion bags were used.

There has been a 61% reduction in the amount of virgin polymer used in all carrier bags since 2006, indicating that bags contain more recycled content.

The figures are set against a back-drop of 8% sales volume growth by participating supermarkets between 2006 and 2010.


Source: ©WRAP

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