Data published yesterday by WRAP shows that 8.1 billion thin-gauge (single-use) bags were used by supermarket customers in the UK in 2012.
This represents an increase of 1.3% compared with 2011 (8 billion), and a decrease of 34% compared with 2006 (12.2 billion), when reporting began.
The amount of thin-gauge (single-use) bags used per month by supermarket customers increased from 10.5* in 2011 to 10.7 in 2012. This still represents a decrease on the 16.7 bags per customer in the baseline year of 2006.
The overall number of bags (which include re-usable bags) issued by supermarkets in 2012 totalled 8.5 billion. This compares to 8.4 billion bags in 2011 and 12.4 billion bags in 2006. These figures represent an increase of 1.1% between 2011 and 2012, and a reduction of 32% since the baseline year of 2006.
In 2012, total carrier bags (which include re-usable bags) weighed 70,400 tonnes, compared with 72,300 tonnes in 2011, which represents a 2.6% decrease. Overall there has been a 36% decrease in the weight of carrier bags from the baseline year of 2006.
So despite the overall number of bags issued increasing between 2011 and 2012, the weight has fallen, which is due to a fall in the average weight of bags.
There has been a 50% reduction in the amount of virgin polymer used in all carrier bags between the baseline of 2006 and 2012. Between 2011 and 2012 there was a 2.4% increase in virgin polymer used in all carrier bags.
Data on carrier bags issued by supermarkets has been gathered and analysed by WRAP at the request of UK governments on an annual basis since 2006.
In 2012, participating retailers for the first time supplied information about front-of-store recycling of carrier bags. The results show that around 60%** of stores had recycling facilities available.
(Participating retailers are: Asda (including ex-Netto stores), Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, Tesco and Waitrose.)
Full story can be found here