We’d like to introduce our first guest-columnist Roy Paver, Newton Abbot’s Baglord. Roy is an English environmental campaigner, dedicated to ridding our towns and countryside of plastic bags. His website is Say No To Plastic Bags.
Over to Roy:
What a copout the Environment Ministers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have inflicted on the environments they suppose to represent.
They have agreed to give the shops and supermarkets in the UK two years to reduce plastic carrier bag consumption by a pathetic 25%, and they are pleased with themselves!
For a Government who has got the will to go to war on terrorism, costing billions of pounds and hundreds of lives, they don’t have the bottle to follow the Irish government’s lead and slap a tax on all plastic carrier bags. They couldn’t even follow the Australian lead and make it a target of 50% reduction.
As Bag-ladies and Bag-lords I hope we can achieve this in our own towns in this time, without the budgets and resources the governments throw at surveys and organisations.
Just to remind ourselves: in March 2002, a 15 euro-cent (10p) levy was placed on plastic carrier bags in Ireland. To avoid paying this levy, people took their own bags when shopping.
As a result, plastic bag usage plummeted by 90% – a reduction of approximately 1.1 billion plastic bags.
Local environment minister Ben Bradshaw said:
This is an ambitious but very practical agreement and we are pleased that the retailers have agreed to work with us and UK consumers in such a positive way.
Consumers are increasingly aware that they can make positive choices to help the environment in the way they shop. By signing up to this statement, the UK’s retailers have also committed to help their customers to reduce, reuse and recycle their carrier bags.
If achieved, the 25% reduction target could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 58,500 tonnes a year – equivalent to taking 18,000 cars off the road for a year. It is another example of the simple practical measures that can be taken to help tackle climate change.
Going by their figures, if they followed the Australians we could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 117000 tonnes (equal to 36000 cars off the road), and if they followed the Irish we could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 210600 tonnes, which equates to taking 64800 cars off the road per year.
The 25% doesn’t look so good now, Mr Bradshaw.