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Grocery packaging: UK shoppers shun single-use bags

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UK supermarket chain Tesco says the use of disposable plastic bags is in steep decline as thousands of shoppers switch to permanent shopping bags. According to Tesco, carrier bag use by its shoppers in the last month is 40 percent lower than for the same period two years ago.

Throughout the month of July in 2006, Tesco gave its customers approximately 350 million single-use carrier bags. In July 2008, that had dropped to just 200 million. Tesco says its customers have cut the use of single-bags by two billion since August 2006. 

"It took more than 14 months to save the first billion bags but the second billion was achieved in less than 9 months, showing that the trend is rapidly gaining support,” said Tesco Corporate and Legal Affairs Director Lucy Neville-Rolfe.

Tesco has also introduced a range of affordable and attractive reusable bags to make it more appealing for customers to make the switch. Tesco brought in Cath Kidston - one of Britain's best-loved designers - to extend its range with bags made from recycled plastic bottles. Tesco originally commissioned six bag designs from Cath Kidston but, due to their huge popularity, has now extended that to eight, including a special design for Christmas.

The Tesco Charity of the Year, Marie Curie Cancer Care, receives a 50 pence donation for every bag sold. A new vintage-inspired bag design hits Tesco stores this week.

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