“We believe the Government should act on this for moral end economic reasons.”

Along with being a common source of litter on the Island and in it’s waters, Dr Lansberg said the bags are a drain on our economy, with millions spent by retailers on purchasing disposable bags for momentary convenience.

According to a position letter by the charity, two of the Island’s major retailers together spend around $500,000 a year on disposable bags.

The “‘No thanks’ to single use bags” petition was launched in April, asking the public to show their support of a fee at checkout for disposable bags in a system similar to what is already in place in Washington DC.

Organisers hoped the petition would receive a thousand signatures, but as of this week less than 500 people had signed the petition.

Dr Lansberg said efforts to keep the campaign “green” may have contributed to the response, which she described as “a bit disappointing”.

“One thing that we tried to do to be green was to keep the petition online and not have any paper petitions going around,” she said. “I think if we walked around some events we would have been able to fill it up.”

She also said that while people are generally quicker to sign petitions that do not directly impact them, and some may have been turned off by the 25 cent fee mentioned in the petition.

“I think if we asked if they favoured a charge in general and not said 25 cent the response would have been better,” she said.

Dr Lansberg said Greenrock had met with a number of retailers, including the Island’s grocery store chains, about potentially implementing a voluntary bag fee.

While she said the retailers supported the idea in principle, they were concerned such a move could give a competitive advantage to companies that refuse to take part.

Instead, she said retailers preferred the concept of legislation imposing a mandatory charge to a voluntary agreement.

Dr Lansberg also said the group have met with Environment Minister Sylvan Richards, who she said was also very supportive in principle.

“He said he was more interested on a ban rather than a charge, and possibly looking at having just paper bags,” she said.

She explained that paper bags would have less impact on the ocean because they are biodegradable, but they still carry a higher carbon footprint than reusable alternatives.

At the minister’s suggestion, Dr Lansberg said that the organisation intends to meet with retailers again to get their views on a plastic bag ban compared to a disposable bag fee.

 Original article

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