Booths’ plastic bag revolution

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Booths is setting a green example to other retailers by dramatically cutting the use of plastic bags in its stores.

Booths - which has 26 stores in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Cheshire, including a major new store in Garstang and one in Longridge - is now close to slashing the number of bags used by 50% - a feat which none of the UK’s leading supermarkets have managed to achieve without charging a fee for the bags.

In the past four years Booths has cut the number of environmentally unfriendly carriers used from 29, 201,250 in 2006 to a projected 15,441,900 by the end of 2010.

This has reduced the amount of carbon produced in making the plastic bags by about 400 tonnes during the past four years.

Booths has led the way in tackling the over use of plastic bags by introducing a range of innovative measures. This has included removing plastic bag dispensers from the checkouts in all of its stores. Instead of routinely handing out plastic bags, staff now ask each customer, “Do you need a carrier bag?”

Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op all followed Booths example by removing carrier bags from their checkouts.

In addition, Booths has offered shoppers eco-friendly jute bags and Bags for Life as alternatives as well as reducing the amount of raw material used in its carrier bags.

Booths Health and Safety Manager Colin Everest says: “We’re delighted to mark the end of the year with such a major green achievement. Booths has taken its commitment to reducing the number of plastic bags used in our stores very seriously and our staff have worked hard to achieve this goal.

“We also want to thank our customers for their support – these figures show that they are keen to make changes that benefit the environment and the efforts they are making are having a major effect.”

Although carrier bags today use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago, most are still made from polyethylene, a kind of plastic which is non-degradable and can take up to 100 years to break down.

For every one billion plastic bags produced, 9,000 tonnes of plastic is used and 18,000 tonnes of CO2 produced.