SHOPPERS are encouraged to join in with a “Plastic Bag Free Day” jointly organised by Chester City Council and Friends of the Earth.
The event, on Saturday October 18, is part of a Chester-wide “Carry-a-Bag” campaign, which aims to reduce the number of plastic bags handed out by retailers in favour of eco-friendly alternatives.
Retailers who sign up for the initiative will not give out any plastic bags for a day and will instead have the option of providing their customers with free Bags-For-Life supplied by Cheshire Waste Partnership.
The event will be promoted with a stall in Town Hall Square, where recycling officers and volunteers from Friends of the Earth will offer information and ideas to shoppers who are keen to help the environment. Š
Funding from the Cheshire Waste Partnership has provided an information pack for all retailers in Chester. The pack, put together by Andy Leishman and Mandy Murphy from the University of Chester, features advice on switching from plastic bags to greener options, provides details of where to buy re-usable bags and looks at case studies of other towns which have succeeded in cutting the number of plastic bags used.
All retailers will receive an information pack in early October along with an invite to take part in “Plastic Bag Free Day”.Š
A staggering 150,000,000 plastic bags are used in the UK every week and the “Carry-a-Bag” campaign aims to reduce this figure by encouraging people to carry reusable bags, instead of collecting numerous plastic bags when they go shopping.
Similar campaigns have proved successful in other areas such as Llangollen and nationally, many major supermarkets and fashion retailers are now selling hemp and cotton bags or charging for carrier bags in a bid to be more eco-friendly.
Some shops have chosen to only provide recyclable, paper bags due to the negative effects that plastic carriers can have on the environment.
The vast majority of plastic bags end up in landfill sites or as litter, where they will remain for at least 500 years. They also pose a great risk to wildlife if they get into seas and rivers.
Councillor Jill Houlbook, city council executive member for environment, said: “For some time now, we have been handing out free ‘Bags for Life’, which are stronger and more durable than carrier bags. We’ve also been encouraging people to re-use any plastic bags they have instead of throwing them away.Š
“Shoppers in towns and cities across the country are keen to see plastic bags replaced with greener alternatives and many of our retailers are already setting an excellent example by helping shoppers to be more environmentally friendly. I hope that even more businesses join our campaign and help to set the standard for Chester’s first ever Plastic-Bag-Free Day.”