Shoppers using environmentally friendly, reusable jute bags have helped reduced demand for plastic bags by more than six billion since the introduction of the tax on single use plastic carriers across England two years ago.
The figures have been released by Jutexpo, the world’s biggest supplier of reusable jute bags, which has more than 80 per cent of the UK market.
Jutexpo revealed that the average shopper previously used three single use plastic bags a week and a jute bag replaces the need for as many as 624 disposable plastic bags over its four-year lifespan.
Sam Turner, compliance director of Worcestershire-based Jutexpo, said: “The UK market has seen the supply of around 19.37million jute bags in the last two years. That means that this fully sustainable alternative has reduced demand for single use plastic bags by 6.04billion, with all the environmental benefits which go with that.
“With the bags having a lifespan of up to four years there is the potential for these same jute bags to also save another 6.04billion plastic bags over the next two years.”
The new 5p charge for single use plastic bags was introduced in England on October 5 2015 to help reduce litter and protect wildlife. Similar bag taxes were introduced in Scotland in 2014, Northern Ireland in 2013 and Wales in 2011.
The company’s jute bag production rose from 5.5million bags per year before the English plastic bag tax was introduced in 2015 to help reduce litter and protect wildlife, to 8.5million in the year of the bag tax and 7million a year since.
Jutexpo has supplied 15,500,000 jute bags in the last two years at a rate of up to one bag every four seconds.
Jute is fully sustainable; it is estimated that there is enough jute to provide everybody in the world with two bags per year.
Traditionally farmed within a crop rotation method mainly in the Bengal area (India and Bangladesh), it is grown in similar conditions to organic farming. No pesticides or fertilisers are used in the growing process and nothing is Genetically Modified.
Jute is a strong, natural fibre, the second most important vegetable fibre in the world after cotton not only for cultivation, but also for versatility. The outer is used for firewood, and the leaves are used for food. The fibres extracted from within the stalk are used to make bags.
"This fully sustainable alternative has reduced demand for single use plastic bags by 6.04billion, with all the environmental benefits which go with that."
Sam Turner, Jutexpo Compliance Director
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