CHESHIRE may soon become a plastic bag-free zone.
County councillors George Mainwaring and David Newton have placed a motion before the council urging it to support initiatives to persuade shoppers not to use the disposable “single journey” bag.
They have called for the expansion of the county council’s own Bags for Life initiative which has seen 26,000 shopping bags sold to Cheshire shoppers over the past two years.
They also want to see supermarkets and shops introduce charges for plastic bags, a move which the councillors believe would help protect the environment and have an impact on climate change.
It is estimated Britons use eight billion plastic bags a year, the equivalent of 133 per person.
Environmentalists have called for an end to plastic bags which, they say, may be used for only 20 minutes but then take 100 years to rot away, and a switch to paper bags that can decompose in days.
The councillors believe Cheshire should be looking to lessons learned in Ireland which in recent years has introduced a charge for plastic bags and as a result saw a fall of almost 98% in bag consumption.
Plastic bags have been banned in Bangladesh where as litter they were responsible for the blocking of important drains.
In India they have been outlawed after they led to the choking of cattle that swallowed them.
Taiwan and Singapore have followed suit, and around the world concern has been expressed over bag-related deaths to turtles and marine life.
Cty Cllr Mainwaring said: “As a council we should be showing a lead.
“We all use plastic bags and we can now play our part by using less and less. We forget there is a cost, there is the initial cost of the oil used in their manufacturer, then there is the cost of cleaning up after they been discarded. It’s a total waste of valuable resources.”
The county council’s Bag for Life scheme has seen sales of the £2 bags continuing at 500 a month.
The jute-based bags can be used for a year or until they wear out, and then added to the household compost.