A STALYBRIDGE shopkeeper has launched a personal crusade against the sea of plastic waste.
Corinne Lavis, from greengrocers 5 A Day, no longer hands out plastic carrier bags.
And shoppers have bought into her bid to reduce the amount of waste as plastic has been replaced by paper carrier bags.
Corinne, who stopped giving out plastic carrier bags in March, said: “I am conscious from watching television about the amount of plastic carrier bags which are being used and the effect they are having on the environment.
“That is why I made the decision which my regular customers are used to as they bring their own bags or buy a paper carrier bag for 20 pence.
“I had mixed reactions and some initially pulled faces and questioned what difference it would make. My argument is that if everyone on the planet did their bit, it would make a difference.
“I have proved shops can operate without the need for plastic bags and hope others follow up as it can be done.”
Corinne, who left France in 2007 and came to live in England in June 2008, added people in her home country were well ahead of the game in terms of recycling.
“People were buying reusable bags then but that didn’t happen here until many years later.”
Corinne added customers bring both canvas and plastic carrier bags while she also gives out recycles cardboard boxes for customers with bulk orders.
She also explained customers have bought into her policy and even bring back used egg boxes to be recycled.
Corinne said: “I would love to do more but things like lettuce already come wrapped in plastic.
“I would love people to understand more about the problem of plastic and the pollution it causes.
“A lot understand what I am doing but others say it is rubbish. It is difficult when some high-profile people argue climate change doesn’t exist.”
Customer Paul McIntyre, from Demesne Drive, Stalybridge, said: “I can understand and appreciate what the lady has done her bit for the community, but what difference will it make?
“It is the multi-million pound companies which are the main polluters and in two minutes they could wipe out the planet which is knackered and over abused.”
Ginny Diegnan, from Hyde but who shops in Stalybridge, is also aware of eco-issues.
She said: “That is why I shop here because Corinne avoids using plastic carrier bags.
“I use recyclable bags and try to buy things loose to cut down on the use of plastic.”
Sharon Jones, from Tintwistle, added: “It is great that 5 A Day doesn’t give out plastic carrier bags and more should be done elsewhere to cut down their use.
“I use cloth shopping bags and avoid plastic carrier bags whenever I can.”
Karen Goodson, from neighbouring Say Cheese, is also conscious about cutting down on waste.
She estimates she cut plastic bag use by more than 50 per cent in six months after introducing ‘Save me, protect me, 100 per cent degradable’ bags which she says are easily sourced and durable.
Karen added it is about educating shoppers as previously they would ask for a bag even if they were only buying a pack of muffins.
She said: “We have reduced the number of bags given out by a tremendous amount, probably 80 per cent of customers don’t ask for one.
“They bring along tupperware containers and a variety of methods instead of using our degradable carrier and paper bags.”
Karen added even suppliers are more conscious about reducing the amount of plastic packaging pointing to various items in Say Cheese to illustrate her point.
She said: “I try to reduce the use of plastic as much as I can apart from wrapping which I cannot get away from.
“I am well aware of how much plastic waste there is and put a lot of the blame on manufacturers.”