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February 3, 2008

EaBanchory High Streetrlier this year Modbury in Devon banned plastic bags in their village and numerous towns and villages and cities around the UK are following suit.  However, as far as I know, no town in North East Scotland has taken this step and I would like Banchory to be the first to do so.

I have lived in Banchory now for 12 years and think it is a lovely village in a picturesque setting.  However, I sometimes find plastic bags littering the lane I live on, the woods I walk through and the river bank that is the heart of the town.  They can last for hundreds of years and damage the environment even when they are disposed in landfill.   I believe that I am not alone in thinking that it is time to take action and ban plastic bags from our beautiful town.

In June 2007, Modbury, a town in Devon, was the first town in the UK to go plastic bag free and, since then, over 80 towns, including Selkirk and North Berwick, are planning to follow. If the group’s aims succeed, Banchory could be the first ‘town’ in North East Scotland to become plastic bag free. Several countries which have decided to ban or discourage the use of plastic bags include: Australia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy, Taiwan, Mumbai, France, West Bengal, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Switzerland, Rwanda, Denmark, Germany, South Africa, California, Somalia, Botswana, Philippines, New Zealand, AND NOW CHINA!

The “Banchory bags Campaign” (BbC) group, recently formed under the umbrella of Banchory & District Initiative Limited (BDI), believe that, although it may be only a small step towards helping our environment, removing plastic bags from the local shopping scene is a step that we can all take. BbC has already enlisted the help of local schools and has obtained the support of the largest local supermarket, Somerfield, and also of the Co-op. BbC will conduct surveys of Banchory shoppers and traders over the next few weeks. If Bbc finds (as expected from informal soundings) that the community is behind the campaign, it is aiming for Banchory to be plastic bag free starting from 16 June 2008 – after St. Ternan’s Fair.

Bookmarks setting out ‘Hints’ to help shoppers to say, ‘No Thanks’ to plastic bags and listing a few facts about plastic will be given out over the coming weeks.

BbC is currently seeking funding for the project from a variety of local and national sources.

It is up to the shoppers in Banchory to make this work. There has been a lot of discussion in the media about how to reduce the use of plastic bags and the litter they make. Some people think the government should be doing more, or that supermarkets should take the initiative. It is easy to forget that plastic bags are only a problem because people insist on using them. Just one cloth bag can replace at least 1000 plastic bags over its lifetime. It would be easy to make a big difference in Banchory.

Plastic carrier bags are the icon of our unsustainable lifestyles and removing plastic bags from our lives will not make us sustainable or stop global warming. However,  hopefully it will make us all stop and think about the bigger picture. We can all actually do without plastic bags. We can take old bags into the supermarket and reuse them or, better still, take our own reusable, environmentally friendly bags with us whenever we go shopping


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2008 8:23 pm

    Hi Mum, you might want to make common cause with Jenny (another new blogger) who’s seems to share your dislike of plastic bags!

    Jenny’s one of the councillors from Norfolk that’s part of the Cllr 2.0 project I’m playing a small part in.

    Good luck with the campaign.

  2. February 6, 2008 12:58 pm

    hi Christina, good luck with your campaign. You might be interested to see what is happening in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight where I recently saw campaigners sewing up bags in the window of the RNLI shop, using old duvet covers and fabric that had been donated. There’s some info on

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