BANBURY, ENGLAND (July 29, 12:15 p.m. ET) — The latest figures from the Waste & Resources Action Program (Wrap) show that 6.4 billion carrier bags were distributed to supermarket customers across the United Kingdom in 2010. The figure compares with 10.7 billion handed out in 2006 when figures were first recorded — an overall reduction of 40 percent.
However, it represents a 5 percent increase compared with the 6.1 billion used in 2009-2010.
The figures show that, on average, people now use 8.6 bags per month, but there are regional differences. Northern Ireland recorded the lowest bag use per person.
Importantly, there has been a 61 percent reduction in the amount of virgin polymer used in carrier bags since 2006, as a result of lightweighting and increased use of recycled content.
Banbury-based Wrap is a nonprofit group created by the British government to investigate waste and packaging.