Break the Bag Habit
Four leading environmental organisations have joined forces to call for a charge on single-use bags in England, following the success of the scheme in Wales and Ireland.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are calling on the Government to help reduce litter and waste by requiring retailers to introduce a small levy on all single-use bags. Together they have launched the ‘Break the Bag Habit’ campaign.
Over the past two years, the number of carrier bags used in England has increased despite repeated Government calls for retailers to reduce the numbers they give out.
Last year businesses in the UK issued plastic bags at a rate of 254 a second! Plastic bags do not biodegrade and can take hundreds of years to biodegrade.
A total of eight billion ‘thin-gauge’ plastic bags were issued during 2011 - a 5.4 percent increase on the 7.6 billion bags issued in 2010. The bulk of this increase came from England, the only home nation not to have a single-use bag levy in place or to be actively seeking to implement one.
Andy Cummins, SAS Campaign Director said: “Throughout the year, around the country, thousands of SAS supporters are stepping over plastic bags on the way to the surf. Consumers, retailers and even the Prime Minister support the bag levy. A levy will reduce litter and protect the environment, so David Cameron, it’s time England carried the bag levy too!”
How can schools get involved?
As part of a literacy or citizenship lesson, pupils could find out who their MP is and write a letter urging them to support the campaign.
But what about all those bags still out there? Here are some activity ideas for schools and summer holiday clubs:
African plastic bag footballs – follow this easy step-by-step guide to on how to make a recycled football from plastic bags as African children do.
Carrier bag monsters – help investigate their environmental impact.
Schools signed up to our fantastic Sport into Schools project can login and download our Make your own PE bags lesson plan.