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Plastic Bags

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to reduce the (a) use and (b) provision of plastic carrier bags. (289528)

A voluntary agreement between the Government and Britain's leading supermarkets (represented by the British Retail Consortium (BRC)) aimed to cut the number of single -use carrier bags they provided by 50 per cent. by the end of May 2009, against 2006 levels.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) which has been monitoring the agreement, reported that retailers only narrowly missed the target, achieving a reduction of 48 per cent. across the UK. These are significant results achieved solely on a voluntary basis, and the Government, BRC and the retailers it represents are working to continue reducing the number of bags distributed with a shared goal for a long-term reduction of 70 per cent. As part of the agreement, the Government, the BRC and WRAP launched a publicity campaign earlier this year encouraging consumers to ‘Get A Bag Habit’—and remember to reuse their carrier bags when shopping.