Green campaigners stage a protest against plastic bags

SHOPPERS were reminded about the damage plastic carrier bags can do to the environment, if misused, when Friends of the Earth staged a demonstration outside Tesco last Saturday.

Eight protesters carried placards and gave out leaflets raising awareness about the importance of carrying reusable bags and ditching the freebies. They also wanted Tesco to join some other supermarket chains and do away with the free plastic carriers.

Spokeswoman for Friends of the Earth Victoria Harvey said: "It was a timely protest as Woolworth's and Nature's Harvest have all done away with free bags.

"However, Tesco didn't make a comment - they took no notice.

"It's good to see people using reusable bags though and we aim to make Leighton a plastic bag-free town."

Friends of the Earth hope to work closely with the I Love LB Group, which is currently having more of its bags printed ready to sell in every shop in town.

Co-op food stores around the town have also stopped giving away carrier bags unless absolutely necessary.

A Tesco Spokesperson said: "We share the government's goal of helping consumers change their behaviour on carrier bagsbut charging people doesn't make people feel good about the contribution they make. We're pleased that they are calling for voluntary action from retailers. We have done more than any other retailer on this issue. By incentivising customers to collect Green Clubcard points for re-using bags we have reduced the number of new bags issued by more than 25% - that's 1 billion bags and we are committed to doubling that number this year. If other retailers can achieve cuts in bag use similar to ours then the government will see the the scale of change they are seeking.

"In the end behaviour change is best achieved and sustained by winning people's hearts and minds, and that's about incentives, information and empowerment."