Supermarkets and their customers have reduced the number of single-use carrier bags being handed out for the fourth year in a row.
Since independent monitoring began in 2006, the number handed out in the UK each year has been cut by 4.6bn. And in the year to May 2010 43% fewer bags were handed out than in 2006.
With sales volumes having risen by more than 6% over the same period, the British Retail Consortium says this achievement is a ringing endorsement of the voluntary approach which rejects compulsory bag bans or taxes in favour of allowing retailers to use a range of methods that work best for their customers.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “This is a tremendous achievement by supermarkets, customers and staff. The sustained reduction shows that customers are permanently adopting the habit of re-using their bags.”
He added: “The reduction in bag use is great news, but it’s the halving of the total weight of single-use carrier bags which shows retailers really scoring on the crucial issue of reducing environmental impact.”