New data released today by Wrap shows a rise in the number of single-use carrier bags used by supermarket customers across the UK during 2011, compared to the previous year.
A total of eight billion ‘thin-gauge’ bags were issued in the UK in 2011, which represents a 5.4% rise compared with 2010 (7.6 billion). The figures revealed a 22% fall in Wales, a 7.5% rise in England, an 8.1% rise in Northern Ireland and no significant change in Scotland over the same period.
Data on carrier bags issued by supermarkets has been gathered and analysed by Wrap at the request of UK governments on an annual basis since 2006. Compared with 2006, when Wrap first began gathering this data, there has been an overall decline of 35% from the 12.2bn 2006 baseline.
The figures reveal that there has been a 51% reduction in the amount of virgin polymer used in the manufacture of all carrier bags (including re-usable ‘bags for life’) since 2006.
Between 2010 and 2011 there was an 11% increase. Even taking this into account, the overall downward trend in the number of bags being used suggests that more recycled materials are being used in bag manufacture than in 2006.
Including re-usable bags, the overall number of bags distributed in 2011 was 8.4 billion – an overall drop since 2006 of four billion. In 2010, the overall number of bags was eight billion.
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