Discussion Forum
Plasticbagfree Campaign

From Patsy F
Friday, 22 June 2007

I'd just like to say that I'm thrilled to bits about the plasticbagfree campaign - see the news item.

In Denmark, plastic bags are still available for people who've forgotten to take their canvas bags when shopping, but they cost 10 Kroner (1) each! - but it's not the price that's putting people off plastic bags, it's the shame of being seen carrying them.

It's amazing how quickly most people catch on to a campaign like this - it just needed an imaginative initiative - so huge thanks to the instigators. PatsyF XXX

From Jasper
Saturday, 23 June 2007

Fantastic isn’t it? Amazing? What a brilliant idea! Not! Lets all do this so we feel good about ourselves and resolve the guilt that the press and other self interested parties falsely invoke !

What a brilliant, yet shallow distraction technique. Nero would have been proud !

From Jason Elliott
Saturday, 23 June 2007

It's great to see people actually do something about issues they are passionate about instead of just talking about them.

The campaign really ought to be a lesson to most of us, not just about what will happen to the planet if we don't stop putting rubbish into it, but that a little bit of activism, cajoleing, highlighting, call it what you will, can actually go a very long way and have very real, long-lasting effects.

From Nick B
Monday, 25 June 2007

I completely agree with Jason that it is great when people do something active, instead of just sitting back and letting the corporates decide what they are going to for us or not.

Some people, like the bag ladies make a difference and they have done it in a way that involves other people too. Three cheers for them I reckon, I hope we see more of it.

From Jacob
Monday, 25 June 2007

Jasper - I'm interested to hear your argument expanded somewhat. Who is self-interested? Do you think plastic bags are a good thing?

From Frances M
Friday, 29 June 2007

Was in Cartridge Point today, and they want to go plastic free, but don;t know where to get bags that are either bio-degradable or plastic free.

Also find myself that the biggest problem is what to use for that recycling. I don't want plastic bags in the house (or I will use it like all addicts) so what do I do? Really good plan for Hebden Bridge.

From Emma Leeming - Bag Lady
Friday, 29 June 2007

At the moment, keep your plastic bags for recycling with Kerbside. Excess bags can be recycled at Ekko at the Alternative Technology Centre, Hebble End.

For alternatives, there are corn starch bags - lots of suppliers, e.g. biobag. They look and act in a similar way to plastic bags but are compostable and really do biodegrade.

I got into this campaign because like many folk in Hebden, I'm pretty green, care about my planet, my eco-system etc but could do with a bit of help every now and then to change my habits. Sometimes I have been known to walk out of the co-op with a plastic bag, but not any more!! I figured if there aren't any plastic bags around I won't use any, will I?

From Christine P
Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Sorry I disagree with the plastic bags campaign. Have the people of Hebden Bridge been consulted on this, I know I haven't.

Yes I agree with re-using plastic bags, I just feel people should have the choice if they feel strongly about plastic bags they wouldn't ask for one.

Shopping in Hebden Bridge for food is not cheap. I think it will just make the locals fed up and they will shop in Halifax where plastic bags are free.

I don't have a car to put my shopping in. I have to carry it home. I also don't go abroad on holiday. Just out of curiosity, I wonder how big the bag ladies carbon footprint is?

The pollution I worry about is the car emmisions that are in the middle of Hebden Bridge near the primary schools.
Maybe I am just fed up of living in a nanny state and having people thrust their views and demands on me.

From Adam B
Tuesday, 17 July 2007


I can understand that you don't want to feel that you're having views pushed on you but I disagree with your reasoning.

Firstly, I think that people don't generally ask for plastic bags specifically - they take them because they're the quick and easy option. If they were no longer the quick and easy option people would quickly turn to much more efficient alternatives.

Secondly, I cannot imagine that people will go all the way to Halifax or Todmorden just for free plastic bags. They would lose money on the cost of getting there and the inconvenience itself would not make it worthwhile for many people.

It also surprises me that you are so much in favour of plastic bags if you carry your shopping home. I used to carry my weekly shopping home regularly and plastic bags were completely unsuitable; they were too flimsy and incomfortable. I used a rucksack instead.

The other reason I used a rucksack was because the local supermarket charged 5p per. plastic bag and I was counting those pennies. The £5-10 rucksack (which I still use regularly for other things) very quickly paid for itself!

You are correct when you say that car emissions are a problem however this doesn't mean that we should concentrate on emissions to the exclusion of other issues.


From Andrew Hall
Tuesday, 17 July 2007


I don't think you need worry unduly. I guess that the biggest user of plastic bags in Hebden is the Co-op, and, judging by the comments here, their bags will continue to be permissible, having the clear message "This bag is biodegradable and will disintegrate over time" written on them. There's no reason why other retailers can't supply plastic bags made to similar specifications.

So don't feel you have to buy a hessian or cloth bag and carry it about with you religiously. In fact both of those can be quite unpleasant, as I've found out to my cost -(they can absorb juice from fish and meat, and get a bit yucky). Nor is the plastic 'bag for life' the answer; how often do people remember to take them when they go shopping?

It's a bit of a misnomer to call this a plastic bag free campaign. More accurately it's a 'certain type of plastic bag free' campaign. The technology is actually leaps and bounds ahead of the concern expressed.

From Dave T
Tuesday, 17 July 2007

I was, to say the very least, a little taken aback tonight to see on both local TV news bulletins that Hebden Bridge had 'decided' that from 1 September, all plastic bags are banned from the town.

I'm sorry - who exactly made this decision, and with what authority did they do so? Who are they to ban bags, or anything else for that matter? Do they speak for the whole of the town? Do they speak for all of the local traders? Environmentalism is an extremely worthy cause, and one I personally dedicate a very large amount of my scarce free time to, but surely autocratic announcemnets of this kind are at best unhelpful..

What next - a 'ban' on certain types of cars/ clothes/ haircuts? Whatever happened to free choice?

From Zilla Brown
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Couldn't let this discussion go on without saying that to my knowledge "biodegradable" plastic bags do not disappear from the environment as people seem to think. They merely disintegrate into tiny particles and end up blending with (and thus polluting ) the sorrounding environment. Sand especially is already said to contain these particles
After going abroad a while ago and seeing all the plastic (flip flops, rope, toothbrushes, bags, razors etc) washing up on the beaches this was really brought home to me. I think we can't do enough to remove it from our lives and avoid buying it whenever possible.

From Charlotte Rathbone
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Congratulations Hebden Bridge on moving towards plastic bag freedom - as a Modbury resident I can only say - go for it - it really opens your eyes to all the unecessay plastic around - biobags rule OK

From Richard King
Thursday, 26 July 2007

Well done Hebdon Bridge! I am a member of a local group in Kendal, Cumbria. We are united by a common cause - cutting waste in the town. A good start seems to be reducing the use of single use plastic bags, we see it as a sort of symbol of what can be achieved by people power and a way to increase awareness of green issues. Do you have any advice on how (or how not) to launch this sort of scheme? We are at the stage of working out who we need to talk to about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

From Emma Leeming - Bag Lady
Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your valid viewpoints. You're right plastic bag free is just one small step that does not replace other environmental issues. 'Biodegradable' plastic bags are a myth. Check out our website - facts/myths section. The plastic bag alternatives to look out for are those that are compostable. And obviously we can't ban plastic bags!! It's a choice and this is a campaign not a mandate. If you'd like to do this in your area, check out the Modbury website. We found it very helpful.

From Philippa Bond
Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Congratulations. It is a great freedom.
Personally I have favourite jute bags. They are far more comfortable to carry. No more drawers stuffed with plastic carrier bags. If you recycle and take your own bags shopping it can take years to use up the ones you have collected.

I have seen for myself on Western Pacific islands the way that plastic from miles away causes pollution on what you would have thought to be idyllic isolated desert islands.

From Mandi P - bag lady
Sunday, 5 August 2007

It's good to read the debate. Obviously we know we can't ban plastic bags - we're not that deluded. It is an initiative which is beginning on September 1st and people can join in if they want.

Since I started to read about plastic and the way is accumulates in the environment ('biodegradable plastic' pah!), I have changed my whole attitude to our 'disposable' culture. And I do feel better. I know its a small step but I am glad I have taken it. Modbury has given me the kick up the backside I needed. One woman started this.. well done Rebecca.

See also

Hebweb News: Make Hebden Bridge Plasticbagfree

Modbury - first UK plastic bag free town

Plastic Bag Free Hebden Bridge