Posted: 07/03/2013 at 21:51
I found an online report from the environment agency online. Here's an extract. (Skip it and read the end).
' The environmental impact of all types of carrier bag is dominated by resource use and production stages. Transport, secondary packaging and end-of-life management generally have a minimal influence on their performance. Whatever type of bag is used, the key to reducing the impacts is to reuse it as many times as possible and where reuse for shopping is not practicable, other reuse, e.g. to replace bin liners, is beneficial.The reuse of conventional HDPE and other lightweight carrier bags for shopping and/or as bin-liners is pivotal to their environmental performance and reuse as bin liners produces greater benefits than recycling bags.Starch-polyester blend bags have a higher global warming potential and abiotic depletion than conventional polymer bags, due both to the increased weight of material in a bag and higher material production impacts.The paper, LDPE, non-woven PP and cotton bags should be reused at least 3, 4, 11 and 131 times respectively to ensure that they have lower global warming potential than conventional HDPE carrier bags that are not reused. T. Recycling or composting generally produce only a small reduction in global warming potential and abiotic depletion.'
So, according to the government, it is production, not disposal, of plastic bags that causes pollution and paper bags are no better unless they are used 3 times. Most importantly, recycling makes little difference to global warming!
So what is the recycling initiative about?