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Retailers target carrier bag reduction

Retailers have launched a new campaign to cut the number of carrier bags used in Britain's shops by a quarter.The British Retail Consortium (BRC), announcing the voluntary initiative this morning, said it hoped to achieve the target by the end of 2008.Helping the environment by cutting raw materials and energy used in their production, as well as lowering the impact of their disposal, are the goals of the scheme.Encouraging the recycling and re-use of bags will cut usage, as will making cutbacks in the resources poured into each bag. In addition, more customers will be asked whether they need a bag rather than automatically receiving one.BRC environment policy director Nigel Smith commented: "This agreement is another demonstration of the retail industry's commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their operations."Twenty-five per cent is an ambitious target for the industry as a whole."Growing consumer awareness about less-than-green carrier bags distributed by supermarkets and high street shops has already led to individual shops seeking to improve their environmentally-friendly credentials by beginning their own campaigns.Supermarket Tesco made its carrier bags biodegradable last September while flatpack furniture chain Ikea became the first retailer to charge for bags in Britain last June.

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