Survey reveals strong support for plastic bag charging

Transition Jesmond believes it now has a mandate to ask local traders to support its campaign to make Acorn Road a plastic bag-free zone.

Photograph: Alan Stanton

Over the last three weeks, the environmental group has been surveying the opinion of Acorn Road shoppers on the subject of plastic bags. The group is now collating final results, but Transition Jesmond’s Tony Waterson says preliminary findings from around 100 respondents suggest overwhelming support for a charging policy for plastic bags. Here are some of the findings he has shared with JesmondLocal:

Do you accept plastic bags?

Always 1.2%

Sometimes 66.3%

Never 32.6%

Do you carry a reusable bag?

Always  21.6%

Yes when intending to shop 55.7%

If no would you be willing to carry reusable bag? 86.8% yes

Would you be in favour of making Acorn Road plastic bag free

in favour  28.4%

strongly in favour 62.5%

(i.e. 90.9% in favour or strongly in favour)

Do you agree with shops charging for single use bags?

Definitely yes 93.0%

Uncertain 4.7%

Definitely no  2.3%

Do you live in Jesmond?  80.7% yes

“The survey confirms our expectation that most shoppers are happy to carry reusable bags and are in favour of shops charging for bags,” says Waterston, who has passed on the following comments from survey respondents:

“Go for it. Great idea. I dump my old torn ones in Tesco bag recycle. Perhaps have a recycle point outside Oxfam – 1 for bags which could be used again (by those who have forgot theirs) ie re-used; and 1 for torn bags for disposal/recycling”

“Would love them to donate the money to an environmental charity. I am in the meat trade and we donate all the money from our plastic carrier bags to Compassion in World Farming in the hope that they will eventually persuade our government to support animal welfare practices in farming.”

“Absolutely support any initiative to reduce plastic bag use. Am also keen to reduce plastic / other packaging used by supermarkets for all products. Tesco has agreed to recylce any of my plastics from the store that cannot be recycled locally; however, this does not put sufficient pressure on the store to reduce packaging!

“Tesco is clearly a big part of the problem here,” says Waterston. “The manager is very supportive of our campaign but says that head office won’t allow charging until the government forces them to. With this attitude it is not surprising that Tesco comes third from the bottom of supermarkets ranked by environmental good practice.

“Our next step is to go back to the traders and discuss the results with them. We shall ask them to sign up to back out scheme or to be a supporter. Anyone interested should email”