UK Plastic Bag Use Rises For Fourth Year, WRAP Figures Show

17-04-14(1)picData published today (15 July) by WRAP shows that 8.3bn thin-gauge, single-use bags, were used in 2013 by customers of UK supermarkets, an increase of 3.2 percent compared with 2012 (8.1bn).

This is the fourth year in which bag use in the UK has risen, however, it represents a decrease of 32 percent compared with 2006 (12.2bn), when reporting began.

Thin-gauge bags constitute 95 percent of all bags used by supermarket customers

Participating retailers are: Asda, Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, Tesco and Waitrose.

The number of bags used per month by supermarket customers increased from 10.6 in 2012 to 10.8 in 2013. This represents a decrease on the 16.7 bags per customer in the baseline year of 2006.

The overall number of bags (which include re-usable bags) issued by supermarkets in 2013 totaled 8.8bn. This compares to 8.5bn bags in 2012 and 12.4bn bags in 2006.

These figures represent an increase of 3.2 percent between 2012 and 2013, and a reduction of 29 percent since the baseline year of 2006.

In 2013, total carrier bags (which include re-usable bags) weighed 67,300 tonnes, compared with 70,400 tonnes in 2012, which represents a 4.4 percent decrease. Overall there has been a 39 percent decrease in the weight of carrier bags from the baseline year of 2006.

So despite the overall number of bags issued increasing between 2012 and 2013, the weight has fallen, which is due to a fall in the average weight of bags.

There has been a 48 percent reduction in the amount of virgin polymer used in all carrier bags between the baseline of 2006 and 2013. Between 2012 and 2013 there was a 4.8 percent increase in virgin polymer used in all carrier bags.

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.

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