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Bag reuse campaign fails to change behaviour - COMMENT UPDATE

A campaign encouraging people to reuse their shopping bags has not produced a strong change in bag use behaviour.

The 10 week Choose to Reuse trial was run by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in Bristol and Edinburgh last year, in conjunction with a number of major supermarket retailers.

It aimed to see if customers could be persuaded to use fewer free carrier bags on their shopping trips, by reusing bags instead.

But the trial as a whole failed to produce a strong positive change in bag use behaviour.

WRAP campaign project manager Julia Falcon said: Even with intensive promotion to encourage people to bring bags with them and reuse bags for shopping, it seems that only certain audiences were receptive and actually made changes in response to the Choose to Reuse campaign.

Analysis of the results found that older shoppers, and those in social groups D and E partly skilled and unskilled workers, seemed more receptive to the campaign. Though there was not enough evidence to explain why, it suggests more targeted campaigns may have a better response.

Responses in some stores were also better than others and this has been attributed to the size of shopping trip. The results indicated that bag reuse was greater for medium-sized shopping trips, and low for small and large shopping trips.

Data from the retailers involved showed that sales of reusable bags or bags for life increased during the campaign.

Falcon added: While the trial overall has not produced an increase in reuse, the work has made an important contribution to understanding the issues surrounding shopping use, and has brought to light some important differences between shoppers that could help shape any future initiatives.
21/07/06: Surely the simplest way to reduce the number of disposable carrier bags in circulation is to stop supermarkets "giving them away" if customers had to pay 20p for each bag I am sure people would stop wasting them after only one use. These disposable bags aren't free we have to pay for them by a mark up on our shopping.
Posted by Charlie
21/07/06: This is a campaign with limited views. No one measures the actions of those who, like myself have been recycling for over 15 years. We use only large reusable bags, so do not use very many supermarket or store bags. So even though I have a high recycling reuse profile, I cannot improve any further.
Posted by Phil E


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