Wednesday 3rd January 2018
The figures have been released by Jutexpo, the world’s biggest supplier of reusable environmentally friendly jute bags, which has more than 80 per cent of the UK market.
Shoppers using jute bags have helped reduced demand for plastic bags by more than six billion since the introduction of the tax on single use plastic carriers across England two years ago.
But Jutexpo revealed that around 1.5billion bags are still used in the UK each year, with around 30 per cent of those being in the pre-Christmas shopping rush. It called on shoppers to remember the environmental impact of using plastic bags.
Jutexpo revealed that the average shopper previously used three single use plastic bags a week and a jute bag replaces the need for as many as 624 disposable plastic bags over its four-year lifespan.
Sam Turner, compliance director of Jutexpo, said: “The UK market has seen the supply of more than 20 million jute bags in the last two years and will reduce demand for reusable plastic bags by more than 12billion over their lifetime.
“But the busy Christmas period is the time when shoppers lose focus on environmental issues in the big rush towards Christmas Day. But the need to save the planet will still be there in January.
The new 5p charge for single use plastic bags was introduced in England on October 5 2015 to help reduce litter and protect wildlife.
Similar bag taxes were introduced in Scotland in 2014, Northern Ireland in 2013 and Wales in 2011. Jutexpo has supplied 15.5million jute bags in the last two years at a rate of up to one bag every four seconds.
Jutexpo’s jute bag production rose from 5.5million bags per year before the English plastic bag tax was introduced in 2015 to 8.5million in the year of the bag tax and 7million a year since.