Northern Ireland keen to cut plastic bag use

Northern Ireland is hoping to follow the example set by its southern neighbor in tackling the waste generated by shops and supermarkets handing out plastic bags to their customers.

The province’s Environment Minister Edwin Poots met with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in London this week to discuss possible measures to cut packaging and the number of plastic bags handed out by shops and supermarket.

The meeting also focused on the results of the latest voluntary commitment by larger supermarkets to reduce the number of carrier bags handed out to customers.

The Minister said: “In Northern Ireland the usage of carrier bags has been cut from 19.8 million in May 2006 to 12.2 million by May 2009, a reduction in numbers of 7.6 million – a 38% reduction.

“This is great news for the environment and I am particularly encouraged that this cut has been achieved against a backdrop of a growing volume in supermarket sales.

“I am keen to build constructive working partnerships with our retailers so that, as well as helping to cut plastic bag numbers further, we can work together to tackle other important environmental issues such as food waste and packaging.”

Sam Bond

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