28/02/2007

NI stores to reduce plastic bag use

Northern Ireland retailers have agreed to reduce the overall environmental impact of their carrier bags by 25% by the end of 2008.

The move comes in a joint initiative involving representatives from all areas of the retail sector across the UK.

The agreement gives flexibility to allow individual retailers to respond to the agreement in ways that are best suited to their customers and type of trading.

Northern Ireland Environment Minister David Cairns said: “Carrier bags are a very visible form of unsightly litter and I welcome the efforts by shops to reduce the numbers of carrier bags in circulation.

"I would also encourage shoppers to play their part and do all they can to reduce, reuse and recycle 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.

Each signatory is now working with WRAP to identify a baseline figure against which the reduction in environmental impact can be measured and reported. WRAP director Phillip Ward, explained:

“This initiative builds on WRAP’s broader work with the retail sector to reduce packaging waste. Where there is genuine commitment, flexible voluntary arrangements like this can be successful in bringing change.”

(JM/SP)

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