Supermarket Distributes New Degradable Plastic Bags

Sep 03, 2002

An English supermarket is distributing a 100% degradable plastic bag to its shoppers to reduce landfill waste, reports The Guardian.

The environmental initiative of the Co-op supermarket is reportedly the first of its kind in the UK. The company expects that one-third of its bags will be degradable by the end of 2002. Within two years, all of the store’s bags will be made from a petro-chemical material that degrades into carbon dioxide, water, and trace minerals. The bags take three years to degrade.

British retailers distribute approximately 8 billion plastic bags a year to consumers. The average household receives 323 bags a year. The bags currently in use take more than 100-years to degrade.

Moderator’s Comment: Are
plastic bags a major environmental issue? What role should the retail and CPG
manufacturing industries play in protecting the environment?

The best way to reduce landfills is to stop carting in
waste to them. We’re not big supporters of government intervention and taxation,
but the Irish may be on to something. According to The Guardian, the
number of bags used by consumers in the Celtic Tiger Republic has decreased
by 90% since a bag tax was instituted.[George
Anderson – Moderator

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