Friday 2nd March 2018
The UK figure has been released by Jutexpo, the world’s biggest supplier of reusable jute, cotton and juco bags, which has more than 80 per cent of the British market and equates to 15.5million bags.
The company also revealed that supermarkets are catering for increased demand by offering a wider range of reusable bags and designs and launching high-end designer bag ranges in collaboration with the likes of Caroline Gardner, Orla Kiely and Emma Bridgewater.
Sam Turner, compliance director of Jutexpo, added that government plans to extend the 5p charge for plastic bags to smaller shops will drive further increases in reusable bag demand.
He said: “In the last two years, supermarket demand for reusable shopping bags has increased by around 20 per cent, both in terms of the volume bags and our turnover.
“The 5p bag tax has obviously had a major impact on the increase but shoppers are now more aware of the need to make choices which have a positive impact on the environment.
“More retailers and other customers are coming on board with reusable bag ranges that had not considered them before and we anticipate that the up and coming 5p levy extensions will push this further down the retail chain to the smaller retailers.”
Demand for plastic bags has already fallen by more than nine billion since the introduction of the tax on single use plastic carriers in shops or chains with 250 or more full-time employees across England two years ago.
Jutexpo revealed that before the introduction of the 5p tax in England in 2015 the average shopper used at least three single use plastic bags a week. A jute bag replaces the need for as many as 624 disposable plastic bags over its four-year lifespan.
Jutexpo has supplied 15,500,000 jute, cotton and juco bags in the last two years at a rate of up to one bag every four seconds.