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Camden tackles plastic bag problem

A London council is set to tackle the huge problem that exists with over 10 billion plastic bags wastefully handed out each year by retailers.

Costing £1 billion, the bags are mainly landfilled, incinerated or found disfiguring the streets or countryside, with Camden Council set to go to war with supermarkets and shops that hand these out in an effort to improve the environment.

Camden Council executive member for environment John Thane said: “Camden Council believes that we should be a catalyst for change and seize the initiative in pressing for national action on cutting plastic bag use. It’s a problem that affects us all, causing litter on our streets and pollution to our parks, wildlife and waterways, as well as contributing to global climate change.”

After meeting with representatives from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the council is set to launch its two-pronged approach to limiting the number used in Camden.

Firstly, they will encourage local supermarkets and shops to take action through voluntary initiatives, approaching retailers in the new Brunswick centre development for discussions. They will highlight how the cost of bags is rising with oil prices, and how limiting their use could cut costs.

Secondly, it will promote more environmentally friendly alternatives to workers, residents and its own staff.

Camden Library Services will use a ‘bring and take’ bin instead of supplying new plastic bags, while people can reuse the carriers when taking home the books they have borrowed, saving around 12,000 bags a year.

Also, its has been estimated that if one person uses each of the 100,000 cotton shopping bags being sent to households, a staggering 29 million plastic bags could be diverted from landfill each year.

Thane added: “Plastic bags are a major item in the waste stream and cutting down on the number we use when we’re going about our day-to-day business is a simple action to take but would significantly help improve the environment, locally and globally.”

Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to decompose in landfill, while every person in the UK throws away 290 per year, with 8% of global oil performance going into their production.

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