PLASTIC bags are fast becoming the scourge of our countryside, seas, towns and villages - so join us in our bid to reduce the amount we waste!

To mark World Environment Day today, the County Gazette is launching a jute bags campaign in partnership with the Taunton-based United Kingdom Hydrographic Office to encourage people to use fewer plastic bags.

The joint initiative comes as the leading nautical chart, products and services provider spearheads a raft of environmentally friendly measures to coincide with World Environment Day.

County Gazette editor-in-chief Ken Bird said: "This is the biggest campaign we've run in the paper's history and I would urge all our readers to get involved as it will make a real difference.

"I am also delighted that the UK Hydrographic Office has come on board to support the campaign."

Richard Brooks, UKHO's head of transformation, change and human resources, said: "Only one in every 200 bags is recycled and an estimated 100,000 tonnes of plastic bags - the same weight as 70,000 cars - are thrown away in the UK each year.

"Plastic bags have a detrimental impact not only on the land but the marine environment too. UKHO is delighted to team up with the County Gazette to raise awareness of this issue and encourage the local community to do something about it."

Among the first to receive the jute bags will be UKHO's newly recruited eco wardens, who encourage colleagues at the Admiralty Way site to recycle, turn off lights and promote environmentally friendly initiatives - keep reading for more details.

Mark Blaker, senior communications officer for the Somerset Waste Partnership, said: "The partnership fully supports the County Gazette campaign.

"Plastic bags make up 1% of all the household waste in the county, that's 800 tonnes of bags every year! Please 'reuse and refuse' - reuse old bags and refuse extra bags when they're offered."

  • Remember, your County Gazette is printed on paper made from 85-100% recycled material - and, when you've enjoyed your weekly read, make sure you put the paper in your green recycling box for collection.

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