FEBRUARY 28, 2009: The number of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets and shops has fallen from 13.4 billion to 9.9 billion since 2006, according to new figures from the waste-reduction agency WRAP.

The amount of plastic used in this period has also been reduced by 40%, with more recycled materials used in shopping bags. The Government has set a target for retailers to cut the use of plastic bags by 50% by May 2009, which would save 130,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of taking 41,000 cars off the road. Environment Minister John Kennedy said: ‘This is great progress made by both retailers and shoppers, and shows that reduced our reliance on carrier bags is becoming a way of life.’ Dickey Felton from Keep Britain Tidy says: ‘We’ve seen an increase in the number of plastic bags on our streets. We hope that supermarkets’ initiatives to reduce plastic-bag use will lead to a reduction in the number of bags ending up as litter.’

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