Local traders encouraged to turn over a green leaf

Environmental group Transition Jesmond is stepping up its anti-plastic bag campaign by encouraging local traders to sign up to a pledge.

An accreditation system will award “green leaf” symbols so that shoppers know how committed each trader is to supporting the campaign:

* Three leaves – either charges for plastic bags or does not offer at all

* Two leaves – is taking action to reduce the use of plastic bags

* One leaf – is due to introduce a plan to reduce use within the next 12 months

A directory of participating traders will appear on the Transition Jesmond website and also here on JesmondLocal.

The campaign will start in the Acorn Road area and expand later throughout Jesmond, says Transition Jesmond spokesman Tony Waterston, who asks traders or shoppers looking for further information to email transitionjesmond@gmail.com.

“We are encouraging traders to donate the money they save to charity,” says Waterston. “We’d welcome everyone’s ideas on how they manage to develop good shopping bag habits. For example, it’s good to hang a bag near your door as a reminder – and keep a spare one inside it. Or some people have bags which fold up small which they keep in a pocket or handbag.”

According to Transition Jesmond, the world uses 1.2 trillion plastic bags a year. On average they are used for 12 minutes before disposal.They end up in landfill, producing harmful gases or harm wildlife such as in rivers and the oceans. They do not biodegrade and so continue to accumulate.

Some retailers offer to recycle plastic bags, but it uses resources to recycle the bags and they still eventually end up in landfill or as waste. Transition Jesmond claims that countries or regions which have introduced charges have seen an immediate usually dramatic fall in the use of plastic carrier bags – often as much as 90%.