Saturday, 19 May 2007

* Plastic ain’t fantastic say Greens as their cotton carriers hit the streets

A new range of colourful cotton shopping bags is due to be launched exclusively in Lewisham shops. The scheme, proposed by Green Party councillors and taken up by the council, has the double aim of promoting local shops and reducing waste.

More than 10,000 will soon be in use around the borough, and each colourful carrier is emblazoned with the name of a local town centre and the slogan ' Shop Local ' .

Following hot on the heels of the recent frenzy by fashionistas to get their hands on Anya Hindmarch's highly sought after designer bag

and the announcement that Modbury in Devon has just become the first plastic bag free town in Europe

Lewisham town centres are now to get their own ' ethical bags '

Ladywell councillor Sue Luxton commented:

"This is a win-win deal for shoppers, businesses and the environment. Buying and using these bags will not only cut the number of plastic bags thrown away, but also shows support for local shops.

"The first batch has just arrived and will be hitting shops soon. The next batch, funded by a Green Party budget amendment, will be Fairtrade and organic, so they are the all-round ethical choice for shoppers. "

Shops will sell the bags to customers at only £2 each, and revenue from the scheme can be used by town centre managers to promote local centres and parades.

Brockley councillor Romayne Phoenix added:

"We all know plastic ' s not fantastic - plastic bags are made from a finite resource - oil - they don' t compost, they endanger wildlife when they end up as litter in rivers and parks and they are simply not as practical or comfortable to carry as reusable cotton bags.

"Ultimately we need a national plastic bag tax, as Ireland has, but from June Lewisham ' s concerned shoppers can take individual action to do their bit for the planet by using these cotton carriers. "

She added:

"These could soon be the must-have accessory for all shoppers in Lewisham. Buy now while stocks last! "

. Green Party councillors first proposed the scheme last year during the 2007/08 council budget process. Officers liked the idea so much that they used economic development funds left over from 2006/07 to begin the scheme immediately. The Greens' budget proposal to spend further money on Fairtrade, organic bags for town centres not covered by the first tranche was then approved by the council, paying for the second batch, which will arrive later in 2007.

More details and photo available on Sue’s blog:

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