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Movement – Plastic-bag free towns

Posted in Movements by fedwards on April 30th, 2007

At 8am this Monday morning, the town of Modbury in Devon, UK, became the first plastic bag-free town in Europe. Stirred by Modbury-born Rebecca Hoskins’ reaction to the destruction caused by plastic bags on sea life in the Pacific, the town’s 43 traders have vowed not to sell, give away or otherwise provide plastic bags to anyone in Modbury during the next 6 months. Choosing alternative wrappings of corn starch paper, cotton or cloth – or even the souvenir 2,000 official Modbury bags – the town will remain plastic-bag free.

Finding that plastic-bag pollution was as detrimental locally as it was in the Pacific, Hoskins managed to woo local traders by simply booking the local art gallery and showing them her film of the effects of plastic bags on wildlife. By the function’s end, all had agreed to take part – not knowing what consequences this action would have on their local economy.

Modbury is not alone in its quest to protect native wildlife and reduce pollution from plastic bags. There is evidence of a plastic bag-free movement growing around the world, with cities, companies and countries introducing levies, holding campaigns to promote reduction of use or simply banning the use of plastic bags. Examples of such action include cities such as Leaf Rapids and San Francisco in the US and Coles Bay in Australia, companies such as IKEA and countries such as China, Hong Kong, Malta, Bhutan, France and India, the UK and Ireland among others.

For more information, visit http://www.plasticshoppingbagfree.org.nz/ or the article in the Guardian, Vidal, J. (2007) "Welcome to Modbury, the town without plastic bags", Guardian, 29 April.

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