First came the Green Party Councillors’ successful motion to Leicester City Council in November, asking the Council to “support and encourage retailers, businesses and commercial manufacturers to eliminate excessive packaging, in particular the widespread use of plastic bags, replacing them where necessary with reusable bags made from natural fibres or strong paper, and with cardboard boxes or carton”
This was followed up by the Party’s campaign, in conjunction with Clarendon Park traders, to free Queens Road of free plastic bags. All traders who were approached supported the campaign, with the exception of Jackson ‘s. Most were happy to go along with a charge of 5p to those customers who really need one.
Even Jackson ‘s has compromised by displaying a poster on every till asking: “Do you really NEED another plastic bag?”
The Council has now followed the Green initiative by launching its own”green bag”. Libraries and museums will no longer hand out plastic carriers, councillors have agreed. Businesses will be encouraged to join the scheme, which will be piloted in the city centre and neighbourhood shopping areas. Councillor Robert Wann, the cabinet environment spokesman, said: “We felt we should set the example first before asking retailers to do it.” Queens Road could pilot the extension of this scheme if given the go-ahead.
“There is no such thing as a free plastic bag,” says Leicester Green Party Chair Barney Smith. “They have a cost in natural resources in manufacture and delivery. The trader has to pay for them. All customers pay for them in the price of their goods whether they use them or not. They are a cost to the Council in having to dispose of them. They are a cost to the environment in litter and pollution.”