carrier bag use continues to fall in UK
With the help of consumers, the United Kingdom’s
leading supermarkets have continued to reduce the total number
of bags given out by 41 percent since figures were first recorded
in 2006, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) announced.
This figure compares to a 35 percent reduction recorded in 2009.
In 2006 a total of 10.9 billion bags (including
single-use bags, bags-for-life and reusable bags such as cotton
and jute) were used. That number has since decreased by 4.5 billion
to 6.5 billion per year in 2009/10, reducing the amount of material
used in bags by 39,700 tons per year.
Within that overall reduction, the number
of ‘single-use’ carrier bags issued has been reduced by 43 percent.
This is a reduction of 4.6 billion single-use bags per year (45,800
tons per year), compared to a 37 percent reduction recorded in
WRAP’s other measurement – a spot check analysis
of bag use during the month of May – has also recorded a reduction
in total bag use. 395 million less bags were used in May 2010
than in May 2006 – a 44 percent reduction, compared to a reduction
of 43 percent last year.
Within this measurement, the number of single-use
bags has increased slightly from May 2009. In May 2010, 45 percent
fewer bags were used than in May 2006, compared to 48 percent
fewer in 2009.
This progress has been made against a back-drop
of 6.3 percent sales growth by signatory supermarkets between
2006 and 2009 with the number of items sold up from 48.5 billion
to 51.5 billion.
In 2010, WRAP has reported additional ‘annual
trend data’ as this represents a more comprehensive picture of
UK carrier bag use.
In 2008, the United Kingdom Governments,
the British Retail Consortium and leading supermarkets agreed
to a voluntary approach to cut the number of single-use bags
given to customers by 50 percent by spring 2009.