Store starts crusade against plastic

AN environmentally-friendly entrepreneur is challenging shops in Suffolk to follow his lead today by charging for plastic bags.The news comes as prime minister Gordon Brown promised to force supermarkets to cut down on their use of the bags if they would not do it voluntarily.

AN environmentally-friendly entrepreneur is challenging shops in Suffolk to follow his lead today by charging for plastic bags.

The news comes as prime minister Gordon Brown promised to force supermarkets to cut down on their use of the bags if they would not do it voluntarily.

Manish Patel, who runs Shotley Post Office and Bourne End Stores in Wherstead Road, Ipswich, has been asking customers to give 5p to charity for every bag they use since December.

As a result about £100 has been raised for St Elizabeth Hospice and Shotley's church while the number of bags being used has shot down by 45 per cent.

Mr Patel said: “Customers were just expecting bags for everything even if they were just getting a newspaper.

“The motivation of getting people to pay is to cut down the wastage of all those bags.

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“If it hits people in the pocket they will remember to bring their own reused bags.

“And when people don't remember they are normally very happy to pay, it is going to a very good cause.

“I hope other shop owners will follow to help make a difference.”

Mr Patel revealed his new scheme after retail giant Mark and Spencer yesterday announced it would be charging shoppers 5p for each bag they use from May 6.

And Suffolk County Council too called for people to be more aware about using plastic bags.

Environment spokesman Eddy Alcock said: “The county council is doing everything it can to make Suffolk plastic bag free.

“We already have a number of campaigns in place to encourage the use of reusable bags instead of plastic and these campaigns are growing.

"Our first goal must be to free the county of the light, flimsy, throw-away type of bag, as given away by most major supermarkets.

“These are the ones that spoil our hedgerows and pose a threat to wildlife.

"Officers from the county council will be contacting major retailers to see what they will be doing to cut down on plastic bags.”

Do you refuse to use plastic bags? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

About 13 billion plastic bags are given out free to UK shoppers every year, taking 1,000 years to decay

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