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Norfolk's best and worst retailers for plastic usage revealed

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:40 10 August 2019

DEFRA has revealed which shops have succeesded in bringing down their plastic usage. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

DEFRA has revealed which shops have succeesded in bringing down their plastic usage. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The retailers which have successfully cut down on plastic bag usage, and those that haven't, have been revealed.

The Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFRA) has said that 221 retailers have submitted data on single use plastics - the majority of which have managed to cut down since 2016.

However, some household names have increased the amount of plastic bags being given to customers.

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One example is food delivery service Ocado, which handed out 156,311,434 plastic bags in 2018/19 compared to 128,388,732 in 2016 - a rise of 22%.

Jamie Osborn, Green Party councillor for the Mancroft ward, said: "It's clear that it's the small independents which are leading the way with this. It's more expensive for them to have recyclable bags, so central government need to do more initiatives to help them with bulk buying.

"It's good to see consumers being discerning in their shopping though, with customers wanting to buy from local independents that are environmentally conscious, instead of always going to big supermarkets."

Unfortunately the producer of this newspaper, Archant, also saw a 3% rise in plastic use given wrapping used to deliver magazines to subscribers or retailers.

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Production director John Ford said work was underway to reduce that figure, adding: "Archant is looking at economic and viable alternative wrapping options to traditional film. Options being reviewed include starch based films, which are compostable but not recyclable. These are significantly higher cost and less viable for retail outlets.

"It should be remembered that magazines themselves are a product manufactured from a renewable, recyclable material. The paper we used is made from fibres sourced from sustainably managed forests."

Only retailers with 250 or more employees are required to submit this data - however smaller companies can volunteer to do so.

The majority of these have been successful in their environmentally-friendly endeavours.

Norfolk convenience store chain McColl's has managed to cut down the amount of bags it's giving away by 93% - reducing its figure from 9,359,895 to 618,054.

Department store Jarrold has also cut its plastic bag usage by more than half, from 112,433 three years ago to 47,108 now.

Ginny Porteous, commercial finance and stock control manager at Jarrold, said: ""We made the decision to stop ordering most of our plastic a while ago and instead switched to Kraft paper bags.

"We do still have a small supply of plastic bags and if customers ask for one we do charge them 5p, which goes to support our charities. However, most of our customers do not ask for these and we are pleased that we are starting to cut down on the amount of plastic we use."

Other East Anglian businesses to improve include Lowestoft's Hughes TV and Audio, and the Norwich Tourist Information Centre.

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