say no to unwanted bags
getting to know community heroes, peop tiffany uk le who don’t just bottle up their frustrations or moan about problems, they work to turn their good ideas into successful solutions. Monica had read about the Modbury campaign which created the UK’s first plastic bag free town. She started discussing it with her customers, and we realised there was a lot of concern about the issue.
How did you translate that concern into action?
I am from San Francisco, where there is a great relationship between local people and local traders, and I thought it would be nice to get the East Dulwich traders involved, with them distributing the bags.
helps develop a relationship between trader and customer where they’re working together to improve the environment. We applied for a ‘Cleaner Greener Safer’ grant from Dulwich Community Council/Southwark Council and got to fund reusable bags for local residents. Now the scheme’s been extended to all customers.
Has the SNUB campaign been a success?
The campaign has done well. Major shops have said yes, there’s been lots of interest and take up of SNUB bags and other reusable bags.
cloth bags (whisper) trendy?
do think so when I see a particularly fashionable local woman using her SNUB bag as part of her ‘ensemble’. It’s a small step but any little action that makes people stop and think helps.
people just sew their own bags?
Sure. Morsbags quite a fun site; they call it ‘Sociable Guerilla Bagging’. They keep a running tally, with potentially 15,405,000 fewer plastic bags used this year.
you think the idea will keep spreading?
Bag schemes are definitely spreading. There’s a viral effect we’ve had lots of interest, even from other countries. Elsewhere in South London, Walworth’s East Street Market took our concept and recently was awarded money to give out reusable bags. There is also interest from Herne Hill and Bermondsey.
people would like to start a similar movement in their a tiffany uk rea, what should they do?
Pick up a copy of ‘Ban the Plastic Bag: A Community Action Plan for a Carrier Bag F tiffany uk ree World’, a new booklet by Rebecca Hoskins with all the information you need to start a DIY campaign in your own area and lots of helpful website links.
pictured right) co founder of East Dulwich SNUB (Say No to Unwanted Bags
government helping to solve this problem?
The government has really pushed on domestic waste but we need to work on business waste as well. That’s an important part of the solution, and I hope the credit crunch doesn’t affect it. With the landfill tax going up (an EU directive), there’s a legitimate argument that having less plastic waste actually saves a business money.
does the credit crunch affect green issues? Will schemes such as supermarket charges on plastic bags cause resentment or finally ‘convert’ people?
I think it depends on the individual. With organic food, I’ve heard that organic veg is often now competitive in price with regular veg, which has seen huge rises in the cost of fertiliser, pesticides and distribution.
also a resurging interest in allotments, with green benefits plus obvious cost savings. Many people are also reducing their meat consumption, as the prices are rising. I was worried funding for green projects might suffer, but I’ve seen some lectures and programmes still going ahead, which is encouraging.
What makes you different from people who complain about things but never actually do anything constructive?
for much of my life I did just grump about things. Then I realised that by expending a bit more energy to take it one step further (even just writing a letter) you translate th tiffany uk e anger and frustration into action.
helps you feel empowered, and sometimes it helps accomplish something. I don’t like to moralise or preach, though. Some people are really busy I had time to work on this so I did.