Plastic Bags

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 20th May 2008.

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Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage retail outlets to replace plastic bags with brown paper bags; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Climate Change, Biodiversity and Waste)

We are taking no such steps. To do so would be counterproductive in terms of direct environmental impact, and would conflict with our objective of phasing out all single use bags, whether made from plastic or paper. While paper bags are derived from a renewable resource, their manufacturing process is resource intensive. Considerable quantities of oil are used, particularly for the extraction of wood pulp. Paper bags are also heavier than plastic bags and therefore require more energy to transport, resulting in greater emissions.

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