Call For Ban On “Wasteful” Tide Of Plastic Charity Bags

02-10-13(5) has claimed that the vast majority of plastic sacks that charities hope householders will fill with doorstep donations are not used at all, with many simply going straight into the bin. 

National waste management company had called on charities to rethink their collection strategies, and turn use less wasteful alternatives to the current practice of issuing plastic bags to householders whether they’ve asked for it or not.

The company says that it only results in the majority of the bags ending up in the bin.

“The problem with these bags is their convenience,” says ‘s recycling director Mark Hall, “As a call to action they’re reasonably effective for the charities involved, but in terms of waste, they’re horrendous.”

“If charities and their agents are unable to find a better solution, we call on government to consider a ban.”

According to statistics collated by one charity bags website, 60 percent of the UK’s households receive an average of 25 charity bags per year, resulting in:

  • 525,000,000 bags delivered across Britain annually
  • 2,625 tonnes of plastic bags used, only 25 percent of which are bio-degradable
  • Only three percent of bags are filled and left out on collection day

This means that 509m bags – over 2,500 tonnes – are not used for their intended purpose.

“That figure is just for a single year,” said Hall, “There must be billions of these bags either filling up kitchen cupboards or going straight into landfill. Something has to be done to stop this tide of waste.” suggests that charities consider the following alternatives:

  • use more bio-degradable bags, or consider US-style paper sacks
  • deliver leaflets or sticky labels to encourage households to use their own bags and boxes
  • encourage alternative means of making a donation.

“The general public finds the endless tide of unwanted plastic bags annoying,” said Hall, “People fell they’re being guilt-tripped into donating, especially when they receive several bags from competing charities in quick succession.”

People can do their bit to help reduce waste by:

  • put up a sign asking charities not to leave bags
  • leave empty bags on your doorstep to be re-used
  • make donations direct to charity shops or recycling bins.

“In their attempts at doing good, charities are also inadvertently doing the environment no favours. Something’s got to be done,” Hall said.


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