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Supermarket ditches disposable plastic bags for eight days
A SUPERMARKET giant, which normally gives out 10,000 plastic bags per week, will ditch them for eight days to make Marlow cleaner.
Waitrose has signed up to Marlow Town Council's proposal to scrap plastic temporarily to help clean up the town - though Sainsbury's has declined.
Marks and Spencer has also come on board.
Although it will not stop handing out disposable bags it will be giving away bags for life for the first 100 customers who request them from October 19.
The council wants to make the town cleaner, free of litter and more attractive as part of its ten year plan.
It hopes to make shoppers change their habits – so there will be less waste and rubbish around the area.
Huge amounts of plastic bags have been found, particularly around Higginson Park and The Causeway during litter picks.
Waitrose, in Chapel Street, uses 10,000 plastic bags per week. The food shop has bought 10,000 bags for life, larger containers that can be used many times, for about £1,000.
The cost is being shared equally between the council and Waitrose.
From October 19 Waitrose will give out bags for life, normally costing ten pence, free to customers.
Cllr Jocelyn Towns, leading the scheme, said: "We can start small and hope it grows and other towns then take it on. I think it's really important that people are aware of what they are using personally.
"There are different aspects of our vision for the town under different headings, which includes helping our environment.
"In the UK we consume around 17 billion bags per year and the average life of each bag is only 20 minutes before it’s thrown away. If the bag is not recycled, it takes 400 years for it to photo-degrade.
“One of the important aims of Marlow Town Council’s Vision is to reduce the use of plastic bags in the town, and we’re delighted that Waitrose is giving us its support."
Asked about this, Manager Steve Blake hopes the eight day trial will help foster a change in habits.
He said: "Our green credentials are really important to us at Waitrose, and we want to raise awareness of the importance of bag recycling.
“We want customers to keep reusing carrier bags - which otherwise will end up in the bin and then go into landfill and the oceans. We’re looking to see a reduction in the number of carrier bags in the future, as more people use a bag for life."
Councillors will also run a pop up stall outside Waitrose on October 19 where customers can hand over any excess packaging from their shopping.
Marks and Spencer discourages customers from using plastic bags by charging 5p for each one.
It has been doing so nationwide since 2008.
A statement from M and S read: "Since then we've seen an average 80 per cent reduction in the number of bags used in our stores. This means over two billion fewer bags used by our customers and more than £6m has gone to good causes as a result."
"We are delighted to show our support for the council's ongoing work in this area by giving away a bag for life to the first 100 customers who request one between October 19 and 26.”
Sainsbury's spokesman Tom Parker said: "Both our stores in Marlow have an excellent relationship with the town council and support it on a wide variety of initiatives including providing mince pies for the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Event every year.
"We aren’t able to participate in this particular scheme however we are committed to helping our customers reduce the number of carrier bags they use by removing single use carrier bags from checkouts, encouraging customers to ask for bags if they need them.”
It also sells bags for life, offers carrier bag recycling at the store and has raised the recycled content of its carrier bags from 33 per cent to 50 per cent.
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