Single use bags are one of the UK's most visually intrusive and damaging litter items blighting our countryside and coast. The 2013 Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch survey found over 48 single use plastic bags for every km of beach surveyed. The average person uses 133 bags annually, equating to a staggering 224 bags given out in shops and supermarkets every second*. The majority of these bags are plastic and don’t biodegrade, they fragment, into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic, over hundreds and thousands of years.
Littered single use paper bags are obviously visually intrusive too. And they come with their own set of environmental issues. A significant amount of trees are cut down and large amounts of water used to produce paper bags. Because paper bags are heavier than plastic bags they cost more to transport and the transportation produces more greenhouse gas emissions. And if these paper bags make it to landfill, they'll slowly break down, releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
In September 2013, the Government committed to bring in a 5p bag charge on single use bags. Frustratingly though, this charge won't be brought in until the 1st October 2015. In that time there will be an estimated 14.7 billion single use thin gauge plastic bags given out in England. Many of these bags will be used only once, for a matter of minutes and then thrown into landfill, dumped into the environment or discarded. But we don't need to wait until the 1st October 2015 to take action. Pledge today, and watch the numbers of bags we stop from polluting the environment grow and grow. Surfers Against Sewage is working in partnership with Break The Bag Habit coalition partners - The Campaign To Protect Rural England, Keep Britain Tidy, Marine Conservation Society, Greener Upon Thames and Thames 21 - to eradicate millions of bags before 1st October 2015.
So why wait? Join us. Take the pledge today!
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* The numbers of bags quoted are taken from the 2013 WRAP report and focuses on England. This is because England is the only nation in the UK to not have introduced a bag charge