Shoppers using environmentally friendly, reusable jute bags supplied by a Midlands company have raised £1million to aid the work of the Royal British Legion.
The iconic poppy bags were launched seven years ago thanks to partnership between the charity and Worcestershire-based Jutexpo, the world’s biggest supplier of reusable jute bags.
Jutexpo supplies the bags at a reduced cost, with all the profits going to help the Legion in providing financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and their dependants.
The bags are sold through the Royal British Legion’s own Poppy Shop www.poppyshop.org.uk as well as stores such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, Booths and Wyevale Garden Centres. Jutexpo has produced 660,000 of the ethically-produced bags since the launch in 2011.
The Royal British Legion has been supporting service men and women, veterans and their families since 1921 and provides a range of services to improve and sustain quality of life.
Helen Rooney, Retail Marketing Manager for the Royal British Legion, said: “This iconic series of ethically produced, reusable jute poppy bags have provided a wonderful way for shoppers to make a donation whilst getting a strong, reusable shopping bag featuring the iconic poppy in return.
“The money goes back into the Legion, which distributes it to help our beneficiaries.
The Legion is there throughout our beneficiaries’ entire lives to help them with funds in a crisis, recovery after injury or illness, moving on after the military and provide support to their families.
Sam Turner, compliance director of Broadway-based Jutexpo, which has more than 80 per cent of the UK jute bag market, said: “One of our core principles is 'Beyond The Bag' which focuses on integrity through ethical production, social responsibility, quality and trust.
“We are proud to support The Royal British Legion and continue to work on maximising the money raised through the range of poppy jute bags.”
Jutexpo’s jute bag production rose from 5.5million bags per year before the English plastic bag tax was introduced in October 2015 to 8.5million in the year of the bag tax and 7million a year since.
Nationally the use of jute bags has helped reduce demand for single plastic bags by more than six billion since the introduction of the 5p tax in 2015.
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.
"We are proud to support The Royal British Legion and continue to work on maximising the money raised through the range of poppy jute bags."
Sam Turner, Jutexpo compliance director
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