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Give the Bags a Break!

As part of our Give the Bags a Break project last year, we gave away free reusable bags to shoppers across north London.

How it works?

The government introduced the 5p plastic bag charge for large shops and supermarkets in October 2015. Although at the moment Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are exempt from the charge, this may change in the future.

For last year’s project, the team were out and about speaking directly with shoppers. Seven large events will took place in each of the seven north London boroughs to promote reusable bags, these are listed below.

Barnet, Spires Shopping Centre

Camden, O2 Centre

Enfield, Enfield Market, Enfield Town

Hackney, Ridley Road Market, Dalston

Haringey, The Mall, Wood Green 

Islington, Angel Central Shopping Centre

Waltham Forest, The Mall, Walthamstow

We spoke to a total of 736 residents and gave out 1,100 reusable bags. As well as giving away free reusable bags, we conducted research into bag habits. A total of 134 participated in our survey and 64 entered the prize draw to win London Sea Life Centre Tickets!

Why is bag reuse important?

Plastic bags are a big environmental problem. They take a long time to degrade, can damage wildlife and often end up littering our streets and parks. The government 5p levy on single use plastic bags has dramatically helped reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation. The latest figures from April 2016-April 2017 indicate the seven main retailers issued approximately 83% fewer bags (over 6 million fewer), compared with the calendar year of 2014.[1]

Waste less and save more

Using a reusable bag is just one of the many ways that you can waste less and save more money. For more information on the small changes you can make at home and elsewhere check out our Waste Less, Save More household guide.

[1] Single-use plastic carrier bags charge: data in England for 2016-17, Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, July 2017. Accessed: 24/11/2017 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england/single-use-plastic-carrier-bags-charge-data-in-england-for-2016-to-2017