A trial which could eventually see plastic bags ditched in favour of compostable carriers has been launched in a Fife village.
Around 17,000 environmentally-friendly bags have been distributed to retailers in Cardenden as part of a three-month project which could potentially be extended to other parts of the region if it proves successful.
Most of the village’s shops have embraced the pilot scheme, which has been championed by local SNP councillor Rosemary Liewald and Cardenden Community Council and backed by local businesses RWE and the Purvis Group, and it aims to cut the amount of single-use plastic bags going to landfill.
“We’re excited about this, we really are,” said Ms Liewald at the launch in the Bowhill Centre.
“We have all become very conscious of how discarded plastics are polluting our environment, particularly our oceans, and this trial is an opportunity for the citizens of Cardenden to see what can be done to help eliminate one significant source of plastic from our daily lives.
“The whole idea comes from what’s been in the news right now and the likes of David Attenborough has brought it to the fore, so this has grown from there.
“Conventional plastic bags have a plastic coating that can release gases onto food, end up in a landfill and take hundreds of years to decompose.
“But compostable bags are the perfect plastic bag alternative. They’re made of cellulose, there are no toxic gases being released. They keep food delicious and fresh, and best of all the bags are 100% biodegradable.”
Businesses in the village have already been consulted in an effort to gauge how much single use plastic bags they go through in a week, and these retail outlets will be approached again at the end of the 12-week trial.
Retailers will be asked how they felt the trial went, what the feedback was like from customers, their views generally on plastic waste, and if they would consider switching suppliers permanently.
“We need to change the mindset of retail outlets and if we can do that then the hope is that we can roll it out further in the ward, in Lochgelly and Benarty,” Ms Liewald continued.
“Then slowly, slowly, these things trickle out and hopefully it can be extended elsewhere.”
The bags, which are made of a combination of natural materials, have been provided by Edinburgh firm Vegware and can subsequently be used as food waste caddy liners and turned into compost along with their contents.
Comment: Give them a whirl
Carrier bags can be a serious business.
Especially if you’ve found yourself scratching around a car park trying to retrieve multiple tins following a bag malfunction.
So I’m delighted to say that these new compostable bags are good and strong, and should do the job when it comes to taking heavy shopping home.
Bread, milk, canned goods, peanut butter – and even a random jar of plum sauce – all stayed put during our little endurance test, and the bag’s design itself looks pretty neat.
It’s fair to say there’s a bit more give to the bags than your typical plastic bag, but it doesn’t feel flimsy in the slightest.
I’m led to believe the bags will be free for the duration of the three-month trial, which has to be considered a bonus.
Plastic isn’t fantastic when it comes to the environment, so there’s really no excuse not to give them a whirl.