Newry and Mourne District Council run this annual campaign to help members of the public make the move to a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.
The Deputy Mayor Cllr Charlie Casey said "Over 230 Million plastic bags are sent to landfill in Northern Ireland each year - thats 316 bags per person! We are running this campaign to encourage residents to take a a few minutes before they leave the house to remember to take their re-usable shopping bags and say no when offered more bags in the shop".
This week will run from the 19th to the 26th of September, with the Council running a number of initiatives to raise awareness among residents.
Newry and Mourne District Council as part of the Southern Waste Management Partnership (SWaMP) have teamed up with the other seven Member Councils to produce 8,000 limited edition re-usable shopping bags to reduce reliance on disposable shopping bags and to raise awareness of waste reduction.
The bags will be distributed to local residents on Thursday 17th September at Newry Market. Residents will be asked to take part in a "Bag Amnesty" i.e. they can take their plastic bags and exchange them for a re-usable shopping bag. Council Officers will also be available during the day to provide advice and information on waste reduction and recycling issues.
Some tips on remembering your reusable bags:
- If you are always forgetting to take your bags with you - why not put them somewhere you're likely to see them? Maybe beside the back door.
- Keep some bags in the boot of your car and put a note on the dashboard so you dont go into the shop without them.
- Try keeping a bag tucked in your handbag or jacket pocket so you're always prepared.
How can Retailers get involved
The council is also encouraging retailers to get involved in Need a Bag? Week by encouraging staff to ask customers the simple question "do you really need a bag?". To download guidelines on how to promote Need a Bag? Week Click Here and for a Need a Bag? Poster Click Here.
Some Plastic Bag Facts!
- The average plastic bag is used for just 8 minutes before its thrown away - but can take up to 100 years to decompose.
- Did you realise that plastic has only been used in industry since the 1950s? Since then the world's annual consumption of plastic has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the early 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. Therefore we produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago!
- Plastic bags release toxic gases when they burn; they create stagnant pools which become a breeding ground for malarial mosquitoes; and they can suffocate or disrupt the ingestion of animals that accidently consume them.
- Plastic bags have been found in the stomachs of many marine animals including endangered species such as leatherback turtles. Ingestion (swallowing) of plastic bags can result in blockages, internal infections, starvation and death.
What is plastic made from?
- It is estimated that 4% of the worlds annual oil production is used in plastics production and an additional 3-4% during manufacture.
- There are around 50 different groups of plastics, with hundreds of different varieties. Carrier bags and bin liners are made from Low Density Polyethylene.