The number of consumers turning to wholesale shopping bags as a reusable and green alternative to the traditional plastic bag is on the rise.
Results from a study undertaken by WRAP, the governments waste body show that the single use of plastic carrier bags have been gradually declining over the years. The progress made in recent years is reflected in the fact that thin carrier bag usage is down 40% on 2006.
The increased awareness of the environmental impact of these bags amongst retailers and consumers has helped to change shopping habits.
Leading environmental campaigners state that the use of single-use plastic bags cause significant environmental problems such as harming wildlife, spoiling the landscape and furthermore take over 1000 years to decompose.
Keen to show the changes in buyer behaviour, leading retailers have adopted a number of schemes to help encourage the take-up of bags of life, by unveiling their own lines of branded cotton carrier bags.
Other different techniques employed by retailers include staff being trained to ask customers whether they require a bag and increasing the collection of used bags for recycling at store.
The decrease in the number of single-use bags has been significantly driven by the introduction of a levy in Wales, the plastic bag tax, which retailers claim has seen usage cut by a whopping 90%. The progress shown could see the tax rolled out across the UK.
Six months after the minimum charge of 5p per bag was introduced in the country, a number of leading supermarkets have stated that one-time plastic bag usage has dropped.
Sainsbury’s saw a 90 per cent fall, the Co-op reported 86 per cent and Morrisons 60 per cent, BBC Wales revealed.
Sainsbury’s said to the BBC: “The scheme is working well and has clear benefits both for the environment and for charities.
“Over the last three months we’ve seen a drop of around 90 per cent in the use of single use bags in our Welsh stores.”
Northern Ireland looks set to introduce a similar tax next year with Scotland and England set to follow suit.
By purchasing wholesale cotton bags in bulk, it gives customers an alternative to the plastic bag and encourages them to use the cotton bags. These bags can be easily branded with company logos and slogans to give them more of a corporate identity.