Another Village Is Plastic-bag Free Zone

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Modbury was the first town in England to become a plastic-bag free zone and now Kew, a picturesque village in London, is joining the club. As a result of a local, high-profile campaign by the likes of Zac Goldsmith (founder of Ecologist magazine and local Conservative candidate), 50 local shops, including the Royal Botanical Gardens, have agreed to give up giving out plastic carrier bags as of July 1. Instead a cornstarch, biodegradable bag that is fully compostable will be made available for a small charge. Nice cotton shopping bags will also be available. In the meantime, a fridge magnet (hmmmmm) is being given out as a reminder to bring your own bag--sure to become a local collector's item.

To the fury and disappointment of campaigners, Tesco, the much-reviled supermarket giant, had originally refused to take part in the scheme, saying that it was against company policy. This is despite Tesco's great claims that it is a leader in becoming more environmentally conscious. This week they gave in and agreed to keep plastic bags "under the counter" and only give them to customers who specifically ask for them. The village's designation is an important step because plastic bags floating in the sea threaten the lives of dolphins, whales and fish. The UK alone uses 15 billion bags a year. Hopefully other villages will follow Kew's lead. :: Evening Standard