Since plastic bags were first introduced in 1965:
- Plastic bag use has increased to 1 million per minute globally
- The average European uses 500 bags per year
- 2.1 billion plastic carrier bags are sold every year by 10 major retailers in the UK, of which 1.58 billion – over half – are bags for life (latest available figures – has likely increased over the pandemic)
- The average person in the UK has 57 ‘bags for life’ already at home
At Planet Patrol clean ups we consistently find littered plastic bags, being in the top 10 most commonly recorded litter items in the Planet Patrol app for the past two years running. With 2.1 billion being used in the UK every year, the environmental implications of plastic bags cannot be ignored both in the UK and globally. The plastic crisis is inseparable from the wider climate crisis, contributing to fossil fuel emissions, threatening wildlife and disproportionately impacting those who are most vulnerable to displacement and climate emergencies.
In April, Planet Patrol launched the Big Bag Ban with Planet Patrol Founder Lizzie Carr sending an open letter to the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, co-signed by academics, MPs, celebrities, NGOs and environmental campaigners including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bonnie Wright, Greenpeace, Thandiwe Newton and many others, calling for an outright ban on plastic bags. You can too ✊
On International Plastic Bag Free Day (Saturday 3rd July), get involved and take action. Five ways you you can help:
1 – GET VOCAL 🗣
Sign and share the petition to ban plastic bags here: https://planetpatrol.co/bigbagban/
2 – BAG YOURSELF A KEEPER 🛍
Take the #BagYourselfAKeeper challenge on your Instagram Stories to encourage people to RE-USE bags. Here’s how:
- Take a photo with your reusable bag
- Add to your Instagram Story, add #BagYourselfAKeeper, tag @onplanetpatrol and challenge three accounts to take the challenge by tagging them along with a Big Bag Ban GIF Sticker (search ‘Planet Patrol’), #BagYourselfAKeeper
- Add the link to sign the petition to your bio (http://planetpatrol.co/bigbagban) and direct people there to sign
3 – GET POLITICAL ✍️
Tweet or email your MP with the template here, or even arrange a virtual meeting.
4 – CONTACT YOUR SUPERMARKET 📧
Tweet or email your supermarket, calling for them to remove plastic bags from their stores. You can use this handy template here
Two major supermarkets have taken decisive action on plastic bags ahead of government policy, with the Co-op and Morrisons removing plastic bags from their stores. It’s time other supermarkets did the same.
5 – BUILD EVIDENCE 📊
Do you see plastic bags lying around as litter? That’s evidence of the problem and we need your help tracking it. Download the Planet Patrol app for free for the App or Play Store, take a photo and log it in the app.
Also re-share any images of litter on social media and tag @onplanetpatrol and #BigBagBan so we can re-share.