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UK alliance forms to defend plastic bags

By: Anthony Clark

November 26, 2012

LONDON (Nov. 26, 10:50 a.m. ET) — An industry coalition has been formed to put the ‘science over spin’ case in support of plastics bags to both the Scottish and United Kingdom parliaments.

The alliance, which comprises the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA), the Packaging and Films Association (Pafa), the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) and the British Plastics Association (BPF), has called on Richard Lochhead in Scotland and Lord De Mauley in England to abandon any ideas of introducing mandatory charges on carrier bags.

“There is no evidence to support the frequent suggestions that introducing bag charges delivers overall environmental benefits or that in some way restricting the numbers of carrier bags in use will make consumers more environmentally-conscious in other areas of their lives,” said Barry Turner, Pafa’s chief executive.

The group, which aims to build upon the work carried out by Pafa’s Carrier Bag Consortium (CBC), said that Government and the popular press should be highlighting the success of the industry’s voluntary approach to reducing bag use rather than look at ways to hit the consumer with an additional tax on their shopping.

“We intend to be proactive in showing the convenience and environmental benefits of carrier bags, but remind people that there are far more pressing and important sustainability issues to be tackled,” explained Peter Davis, director general of the BPF.

The group believes CEOs of major retailers understand that carrier bags are not a significant contributor to their environmental impacts and it therefore suggests the voluntary code on reduction should be more widely adopted.

The lobby body therefore intends to provide the public, industry and Government with accurate information on bags and their impacts in the hope that a mandated tax can be avoided.