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Plastic bag litter menace

PUBLISHED: 16:02 13 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

THIS is the real face of the throwaway society of the 21st century – plastic bags littering the landscape.

Heavy winds over the last few days have blown rubbish everywhere, and areas around supermarkets have been especially badly hit.

THIS is the real face of the throwaway society of the 21st century – plastic bags littering the landscape.

Heavy winds over the last few days have blown rubbish everywhere, and areas around supermarkets have been especially badly hit.

In the Copdock Mill area of Ipswich especially, it looks as if the trees are producing a new crop – Tesco carrier bags ready for harvesting!

The increasing popularity of plastic bags from supermarkets has now set alarm bells ringing in council and government offices – and supermarkets themselves are trying to come to terms with the problem.

In the Republic of Ireland, the government is so worried that it has introduced a new tax on each plastic bag given out by supermarkets.

They are being forced to charge 15 cents (9p) for every bag given to customers – and they have been told they are not allowed to absorb the cost, it has to be passed on to consumers.

Government officials in Ireland, where consumers get through an average of 325 bags per person per year, expect the number of bags used to fall by at least 40 per cent as a result of the tax – possibly by a lot more.

Tesco stores in Ireland have welcomed the new tax – the company's environment manager said customers had backed the move and were moving towards using tougher, re-useable bags.

No one at Tesco's in Ipswich was available to comment about the plastic bags today, but the company is trialing new recycling containers for plastic bags at three stores in the Home Counties. If they are successful, the containers could be introduced nationwide.

N The Star has highlighted the problem of rubbish being blown around after being discarded carelessly and from around refuse tips such as Foxhall.

Do you think that these blots of debris on the Suffolk landscape could be eased if we as consumers were to be charged for packaging?

Write to Your Letters at The Evening Star, 30, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich. IP4 1AN. Or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Bag facts:

Some plastic used in disposable bags can take up to 100,000 years to decay away naturally.

Only seven per cent of plastic in Britain is recycled.

The average British adult has 40 supermarket plastic bags stored at home.

60 per cent of household waste comes from packaging;

More than 80pc of plastic is used once and then thrown into landfill sites;

Weblinks:

www.tesco.com

www.foe.org.uk (Friends of the Earth)


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