Plastic bag use up among U.K. consumers
By Jake Thomas, Resource Recycling
The U.K.'s Waste & Resources Action Programme has released new data showing that consumers across the pond are increasing their use single-use of carrier bags.
According to research from the quasi-government agency, a total of 8 billion "thin-gauge" bags were issued in the U.K. in 2011, representing a 5.4 percent rise compared to the previous year's 7.6 billion. The figures revealed a 22 percent year-over-year fall in Wales, a 7.5 percent rise in England and an 8.1 percent rise in Northern Ireland. Scotland saw no significant change during this time period.
However, the data also shows a long-term decline in the use of plastic bags.
Since 2006, WRAP has collected and analyzed data on carrier bags issued by supermarkets. Overall, the use of the bags has seen a 35 percent decline since WRAP began collecting data. The figures also reveal that there has been a 51 percent reduction in the amount of virgin polymer used in the manufacture of all carrier bags since 2006. Although between 2010 and 2011 there was an 11 percent increase in the use of virgin material, the broader trend in the numbers points to more recycled content being used to make the bags.