A Community Action Plan for a Carrier Bag Free World
Every year 17 billion carrier bags are given away free in the UK - that means an average of 300 carrier bags for every man, woman and child. Plastics do not bio-degrade and scientists now estimate that plastic lasts for up to 1000 years. Every carrier bag that has ever been produced is still on the planet, in landfill, hedgerows, or floating in the sea. Plastic bag litter is lethal, killing over 100,000 seabirds, dolphins, seals, whales and turtles every year
But worldwide people are rallying: in Bangladesh and Taiwan carrier bags have been banned; China has announced it will soon do the same. Ireland introduced a 15p levy on plastic bags which has led to a 90% reduction in their use. Marks & Spencer has introduced a similar charge.
In May 2007 Modbury in Devon became Britain's first plastic bag-free town. Its ban was not the result of years of campaigning - Rebecca Hoskins suggested it in a pub one evening shortly after filming a BBC documentary about the devastating effect of plastic on Hawaii's marine life. She showed the film to the town's traders and immediately gained their support in her quest to make their high street carrier bag-free. This book tells their story and highlights the struggles and successes of other campaigns.
Rebecca Hosking encountered the destruction caused by carrier bag pollution first-hand while filming marine life for the BBC. The sight of the sea filled with plastic and images of injured and dying sea animals inspired her to persuade the traders from her hometown of Modbury to stop using carrier bags. Modbury is now plastic bag-free.