19/12/2008

Shops Bags A Green Deal For Environment

There's been a warm NI welcome for a national pledge by leading UK retailers to halve the number of carrier bags given to shoppers by spring 2009.

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has hailed the deal between the UK Government and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to halve plastic bag useage.

The scheme covers seven of Britain's major supermarket chains and aims to reduce the volume of carrier bags provided to customers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by 50% against 2006 levels.

Mr Wilson welcomed the retailers' pledge to reduce the number of bags handed out to shoppers by around five billion in the UK.

The Minister said: "This voluntary agreement is very welcome because it will significantly reduce the number of carrier bags without hitting people in the pocket.
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"I now call on people in Northern Ireland to support this agreement by changing their shopping habits.

"We need to make basic changes to the way we shop. Simple things such as bringing our own reusable carrier bags with us and refusing to take new carrier bags at the checkout will help to reduce bag numbers," he said.

The agreement covers single-use carrier bags provided by the supermarkets involved, both paper and plastic. In 2006, around 13 billion bags were used by consumers in the UK.

UK Environment Minister Jane Kennedy and Britain's leading supermarkets have agreed the cut in the number of carrier bags.

She said that the number of bags saved by spring next year through this agreement would fill 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools, or fill the Royal Albert Hall one and a half times.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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