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Joan Walley, Environmental Audit Committee chairman, says the Government is right to want to reduce the use of plastic bags. "But Defra seems to have made decisions about the design of this scheme that were based more on wishful thinking than hard evidence.

But the Environmental Audit Committee says plans to exclude biodegradable bags, paper bags and small retailers from the scheme risk confusing consumers and undermining the effectiveness and benefits of the levy.

"Before the Government reaches the check out with this policy, it needs to drop the exemptions and keep it simple to help shoppers do the right thing."

boycott the bag?

In September 2007, Hebden Bridge launched a campaign to ban the plastic bag. Former 'Bag Lady' Mandi Paramor, who was involved in the year long campaign, says it helped to raise awareness of the potential damage that plastic bags can cause to our environment.

"I managed to change my behaviour to take bags with me and plan, so hopefully the proposed introduction of the 5p charge will be a trigger to help people change their behaviour."

Six years ago, Marks Spencer launched a 5p charge for its carrier bags. "In our experience, a modest charge for single use carrier bags has proved very effective the 5p charge has New Era Los Angeles Dodgers

In this environmentally aware town, the consciousness of the campaign remains with those shoppers who swapped plastic for cloth. "The thing you see in Hebden is people always carry cloth shopping bags because it is an environmentally aware town anyway," says Mandi.

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"I think it focuses people's minds about the use of plastic in general and if it encourages people to take their own shopping bag it is a good thing."

"Plastics do not degrade in the environment they break up into small bits of plastic, so any reduction of our use of plastics is a good step forward in my view."

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Pearson, environmental programmes manager for BEES (Bradford Environmental Education Service) which focuses on conservation management, working with young people to improve green spaces, says everyone needs to think about how they can use things more wisely and thoughtfully.

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Proving she practices what she preaches, a few years ago Julia set herself a challenge to allow herself 12 plastic bags in the year if she was caught short without a bag.

Mandi believes the Government's plans to introduce the token charge on single use plastic bags will focus people's minds more.

A Defra spokesman says: "We want to reduce plastic bag usage but it shouldn't come at the cost of burdening small businesses who can choose whether or not to charge their customers."

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Chicago Cubs Hat Bear

"If we don't think about the value of things, we are more wasteful," says Julia.

helped us reduce carrier bag use by over 70 per cent in our food halls. That's more than two billion fewer bags since its introduction in 2008, and more than 6m has gone to good causes as a result," says a spokesman.

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The Parliamentary committee urges the 5p charge should be applied to all types of bags and retailers.

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According to WRAP, a not for profit company working in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency, around eight billion single use bags were handed out to supermarket consumers in the UK in 2012.

Carlton Smith, chief executive officer of Bradford Community Environment Project, also welcomes the initiative. "I think it is an excellent idea if it stops plastic bag trees sprouting around the district. Plastic bags are being blown away and bounced down the street and end up in trees.

Julia Arizona Diamondbacks Hat

Plastic carrier bags can be a convenience for carrying shopping but when discarded inappropriately they can look unsightly tagged to a tree or even worse filling Chicago Cubs Hat Bear the ground. Yet we continue to use them.

"I think they are damaging to wildlife in the hedgerow, they can ensnare and trap animals and smother plants, and you also have the carbon footprint element.

"But I think more people are carrying their own shopping bags now, and I think that is the one thing that has been quite successful when you go shopping you see many people, particularly in supermarkets, with their own shopping bags."

Carlton says if charging 5p for a carrier bag will prompt people to put a bag in their pocket before they go shopping, it is a good thing.

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To combat our use of the carrier, the Government is planning to introduce a 5p charge on single use plastic bags in England from next year but will this prompt more people to Cap Adidas Price

5P bags charge is 'a step forward' From Bradford Telegraph and Argus

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Chicago Cubs Hat Bear

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