It's not quite Modbury, the town which has gone plastic bag free for a year now, or Kew, which isn't giving them out in shops, but it is ours. Belsize Park, a leafy neighbourhood in North London has launched a voluntary plastic bag ban. Called "Pennies for Plastic", forty local retailers will be encouraging customers not to take free plastic bags in their shops. For every reusable bag that shoppers bring, the store will donate money to a local Hospice. Or when a customer asks for a plastic bag, they will be asked to make a charity donation. Locals are being urged to buy a very nice-looking cream coloured organic cotton bag with "the belsize bag" printed on it.
To kick off the initiative, Belsize Eco Week has been going on all week. With the slogan "small steps big difference" a series of events have been held in celebration. Films were shown every evening and a debate was held on the Transition Towns movement and whether it can be achieved in this neighbourhood. The local supermarket had a display of eco cleaning products for use in the kitchen and rest of the house.
The Free Bike Fixing clinic was a big hit, with the opportunity to get old bikes into shape and lots of good advice. For the hardy, there was food foraging on the nearby Hampstead Heath. A Give & Take was held in the local town hall. You bring what you don't want and take what you do. A trip to the Camden Eco House was arranged. It's a Victorian house that has been retrofitted to achieve an 80% cut in carbon emissions. :: Belsize Bag Ban
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