UK’s first plastic bag FREE city: Shoppers in Cambridgeshire town will be given 500 fabric sacks to reuse and share with others
- Tourism board in Ely has launched a ‘borrow bag’ scheme to encourage recycling
- Bags given to customers for free and are passed around to keep in circulation
- Local shop owner Lesley Partridge first sounded out idea to recycle fabric bags
A city in Cambridgeshire is to become the first in the UK to go plastic bag-free.
The tourism board in Ely has launched a ‘borrow bags’ scheme that will encourage its 20,000 residents to scrap plastic and make reusable bags from old fabric.
Bags will be given out to customers for free, where they will ‘borrow’ bags in the city centre and pass them on to keep them in circulation.
Local shop owner Lesley Partridge first sounded out the idea to recycle fabric bags in a bid to make the city more eco-friendly.
The city hopes to have more than 500 bags in circulation by Christmas.
Bags will be given out to customers for free, where they will ‘borrow’ bags in the city centre and pass them on to keep them in circulation. Pictured: Samatha Barrett (left) and Claire Tombs (right) outside Ely Cathedral
Ms Partridge, owner of Sew Much To Do, said: ‘Paper bags are easier to recycle but they’re expensive for small traders to buy, so these fabric bags are more environmentally and economically friendly.
‘We’ve got to work together to sort out the problem of plastic bags. As a sewing shop, we’re well placed to make a difference with this scheme.’
Bag-making sessions have also been organised by Ms Partridge to help residents reduce their plastic consumption.
Ely has joined the national Morsbags initiative which asks volunteers around the country to donate fabric.
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All the bags will have the ‘Ely Borrow Bag’ logo, a Morsbag tag and each bag will be added to the national tally.
Tracey Harding, tourism, town centre and events manager for Visit Ely, said: ‘This is a fantastic initiative and we really hope local people and businesses will become involved.
‘We are extremely grateful to local shop Sew Much to Do for co-ordinating a series of group sessions which will kick start the project and make Ely another step forward to becoming a plastic-free city.
‘Each bag is tagged with Visit Ely so they can be identified as we are expecting tourists to take them far and wide and will use £elyborrowbag to help spread of the word of our beautiful city.’
Customer Amanda Nearney and Annebel Butcher at the shop ‘So much to do’ with the new homemade bags created in Ely
Ms Harding added that the city’s modest size will help its bid to be a plastic-free city centre.
She added: ‘It would be great to say we have achieved that. We’re not the size of Cambridge or Oxford so we have a relatively small, tight network of shopkeepers,
‘Many have already switched to cloth and paper bags and Waitrose is committed to reducing single-use plastic too, so we are hoping the momentum builds.’
The Governemnt has tried to clamp down on the country’s plastic consumption.
As part of the drive, Theresa May announced plans to increase the levy on bags from 5p to 10p.
She has also promised to erdicate all avoidable plastic waste in the country by 2042.
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