The scheme will be piloted in the Porthmadog area and organisers are hoping to extend it to other areas in the future.
The aim of the programme is to work with local businesses, shoppers and visitors to raise people’s awareness of the effects plastic bags can have on the environment. For example, in 2008, 9.9 billion plastic bags were given out to shoppers in Britain – this is equivalent to 400 per household. The vast majority of these bags will be thrown out with the rubbish.
In an attempt to overcome this problem the Gwynedd Environmental Partnership aims to reduce how may plastic bags are used in the county and encourage shoppers to think carefully about how they will carry their goods home.
The partnership has already asked local businesses to support the campaign by following some simple steps, including:
- Asking shoppers if they need a plastic bag at the checkout.
- Encourage people to re-use plastic bags.
- Putting a poster in the shop window to raise awareness of the campaign.
During December free cotton re-usable bags will be given out in shops displaying the poster.
Porthmadog Town Council and Gwynedd Councillors from Porthmadog have been supportive of the Partnership’s initiative.
Councillor Selwyn Griffiths said:
“This scheme is relevant and timely project as the Welsh Assembly Government recently announced that businesses will have to start charging for plastic bags as of May 2011. This scheme will be a good way of preparing people in the county for this change.”
Some plastic bag facts:
- The average person uses five plastic bags a week
- In 2008, 9.9 billion plastic bags were distributed to shoppers in the UK – enough to fill 188 Olympic size swimming pools and equivalent to 400 per household
- 180,000 tonnes of oil is needed to produce this much plastic bags
- The greenhouse gases produced making this many bags is equivalent to 100,000 extra cars on the roads
- The majority of plastic bags are thrown to landfill sites where they can take between 500 and 1,000 years to decompose
- Plastic bags are harmful to the environment and to wildlife