Supermarket carrier bag use plummets

Carrier_bags Manufacturers of carrier bags for supermarkets could soon be living on the streets, surviving on puddle water and nettles if the downward trend in carrier bag usage continues, according to reports.

Customers at the top UK supermarkets have slashed their bag use with 43% fewer carrier bags used in 2009/10 than in 2006, when records for such matters began.

6.1 billion bags were used in the past year compared to 10.7 billion four years ago. Meanwhile in the past year, bag usage has fallen by 0.7 billion, or ten per cent. Marks & Spencer, who now charge customers for carrier bags, have seen a drop of 64% since 2006.

But the war might not be won yet. The main reason for the huge drop in bag use seems to be a voluntary agreement to cut numbers between the supermarkets, the government and the British Retail Consortium, which ended in May. Since the agreement ended, stats too boring to print here suggest that carrier bag use is slowly rising again.

Which is great news for the almost destitute carrier bag manufacturers but terrible news for the world’s penguins, thousands of whom will almost certainly perish as a result of the news.



  • Joff
    Didn't some kid invent a carrier bag that decomposed in a year or two? And what's with America using paper bags with no handles? Come on Andy, THESE are the questions you should be asking.
  • Richard
    A year or two?! are you serious! Tesco carrier bags decompose before you leave the fucking shop!
  • lightning101
    Why don't we all have the top half of a shopping trolley in the exact shape of our car boot, supplied by the car manufacturers as a metal bootliner. When entering tesco/asda car park you can just lift it onto a universal tesco/asda wheeled frame and do shopping and the reverse on leaving the store.
  • ry8000
    I actually think some of the profits from Penguin chocolate bar sales should go to help the penguins... or at least send them free chocolate bars. Their name is being used for profit for funk's sake!
  • The B.
    Not in my local Sainsburys, the amount of slack jawed yokels in there putting 1 item in a carrier bag seems to increase week on week.
  • lightning101
    I always felt sorry for the bloke off the penguin advert with the speach impediment :(
  • ry8000
    Don't feel sorry for that bloke, at least he's in employment - now that's an "inclusive" employer!
  • David
    I like to use lots of carrier bags and I am not a yokel. I can reuse them as liners for my bin which seems to fill up every day so I need a lot of them.
  • kev
    until the government gets off it's backside and brings in a tax on plastic bags, there will never be any huge changes
  • David
    don't you think we pay enough tax already kev? I think carrier bags should always be free so I can use them to collect all my other plastic rubish in. saves me bbuying pedal bin liners you see.
  • lightning101
    I wonder if the binmen would like us to stop using plastic bags for our rubbish. With 2 weekly collections, there's barely room to swing a cat in my bin, and i'm not from Coventry :(
  • Nobby
    I think the statistics can be explained like this - it explains my use anyway. We had about 400 bags stuffed inside other bags, inside other bags inside a cupboard in the kitchen. When some places started charging, and others were asking if you wanted bags, we reduced our usage. We knew we were being wasteful and didn't need more bags, so we didn't get them. But our collection has slowly diminished as we use the bags to line our kitchen bin. We need more bags and there is no way I am paying for bin bags when you can get them for nothing from supermarkets. So now I start collecting them again from supermarkets when shopping. So there was a sudden drop in usage which remained low, but now starts rising again. It seems to fit the pattern. PS. I don't care about penguins. Ones outside the UK are foreigners, ones in zoos are bloody immigrants. Either way, they can go fuck a plastic bag and die.
  • Carl
    I love the places that charge for carrier bags. You buy a large number of items in their store, then they ask "do you need bags" when there's blatantly too much to carry. "no pet, i'm going to make multiple journeys to the car with the items in my arms. Then they have the cheek to charge you for them. Charging for carriers doesn't reduce the need for them, it just lines their pockets a little more.
  • bushbrother
    @Carl - or you could just buy 4-5 of the heavy duty bags for 50p a go and use them for years ... yea you are giving them £2.50 extra, but then you don't need to worry.
  • Gunn
    sainsbury sell bags for life for 10p and if the bag gets ripped etc they replace for free, how can they afford to do that.. as my bags only last a few months. but they need to do something about the home delivery as they still use the plastic bags, and each one has like 2-3 items in them.
  • callum
    Carl, some common sense solutions for you: put them back in the basket/trolley and take to your car, or bring your own bags. And it obviously does reduce the need for them, otherwise usage wouldn't have dropped 64% in M&S would it - or is that a huge coincidence? Plus places like Aldi, Netto etc. don't give out anywhere near the numbers of bags Tesco would as people mainly bring their own.
  • Patel
    I would say just make a trip to Harlesden, NW10 north west London, you would find customers asking for double bags for 3 cans of coke or sometimes 3 packets of krisps. And the shop keeper has to otherwise...... just make a trip to some off the street shop.
  • Austin
    With the long term bags i want supermakets to start paying me to buy them as there plasted with there name and advert, im a self employeed handyman and when I advertise I have to pay for it. Or may be they should bring in a plain range.
  • Rudolph F.
    Perhaps a single of the most utilized seats inside your household may be the kitchen bar stool. When one thinks of this item, they might envision a child sitting on it performing homework whilst mom or dad prepare dinner.

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