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Shoppers wasting cash on plastic bags



carrier bag chargeJust over half of consumers in England and Scotland believe that retailers are right to charge for single-use plastic carrier bags, according to a Which? survey.

The watchdog found that most people consider the cost of 5p per bag to be reasonable, although of those opposed to a charge, 70% think they already pay enough for their shopping and 45% think they should be entitled to free bags.

Supermarkets provided shoppers with eight billion single-use plastic carrier bags last year, equating to 120 per customer.

This is a rise of nearly 800 million compared to two years ago, according to figures from Waste Resources Action Plan (Wrap).

A charge is already in place in Wales while Northern Ireland is introducing one next year.

Put your bags to good use

On average, consumers have 17 plastic bags stored at home, but many are still paying for new ones each time they go shopping.

A total of 8% of people don't even bother to keep the bags, instead throwing them away in the general waste after their initial use.

The charge of 5p might not seem like a lot of money initially, but over the course of year the cost will soon start to add up.

It therefore makes sense to start making the most of your bags - that is if you don't do so already.

Of those surveyed, 92% said they do reuse bags either for shopping (53%) or as bin liners (74%). You could even go one step further and store odd bits and bobs in them. They are also great to keep your child's dirty trainers in!

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Customers should reuse bags wherever possible and take advantage of recycling points in stores where they're available.

"We'd also like to see recycled material used for new plastic bags as much as possible."

While supermarkets provide bag recycling bins, 62% of consumers think they do not do enough to encourage customers to use them.

Pick up a bag for life

Alternatively, you can purchase a bag for life from most supermarkets and shops on the high street.

These are stronger and more tough compared to plastic bags, so they last longer. This means you use them for a greater array of tasks.






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