United Kingdom

The world uses between 500 billion and 1.2 trillion plastic bags a year and about 96.5% of all plastic made is not recycled. And when it is thrown away it gets taken to landfills where it is squashed into the ground.

Plastic is not bio-degradeable and can take anywhere from 500-1000 years to break down and when it does finally break down in landfills it does so anaerobically and breaks down into smaller toxic particles which contaminate the soil, waterways and oceans. This also causes methane to be produced which is a potent greenhouse gas that damages the atmosphere.

Plastic does not only damage the environment but also the marine wildlife. It is estimated that the oceans contain just over 100 million tonnes of plastic. Wildlife can get entangled in plastic leading to them starving or suffocating and it is often ingested by them and as a result they can choke to death. It is thought that about 100,000 seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife die each year as a result of plastic debris.

Paper bags are one alternative but the fact that paper uses up a lot more resources in its production than plastic is a problem. But paper is bio-degradeable and at present in the UK more paper bags are being recycled than plastic bags.

The best option for a retailer would be the bio-plastic bag. Bio-plastic is made from plants which are a renewable resource and it is 100% bio-degradeable. Also the process through which bio-plastic is made takes up less energy than conventional plastics and it is fully compostable.

The government and retailers themselves are not bringing about this change quick enough and although some supermarkets only give out plastic bags if you ask for them and places like Ireland have put a tax on plastic bags this is not enough as they will all still inevitably end up in landfills so plastic bags need to be gone altogether.

But it is still important that we re-use our bags as many times as possible and then recycle them. If you could please let as many people know about this petition as you can that would be great and I'm going to advertise it as much as possible. So please sign this petition if you agree and thanks for taking the time to read this.

If you want more information these are some good websites:




The main aim of this petition is to get retailers to stop giving out plastic bags and replace them with a fully bio-degradeable bag with a small charge for each one that will cover the retailers cost of buying them and give people an incentive to re-use them.

And also for them to sell re-usable and fully bio-degradeable canvas/cotton bags. And your help is needed because if this petition gets lots of signatures then when I show it to a retailer they are more likely to be willing to make the change if they see a lot of people are in support of it.

We have the power to change this and we need to start utilising it.

The Get rid of plastic bags petition to Retailers was written by Sam Waters and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.