AN eco-friendly initiative is being launched in Wellington today.

A scheme to reduce the number of carrier bags being used is being led by Somerset County Council and Somerset Waste Partnership.

Wellington shoppers are being urged to play their part by using reusable shopping bags and packing the maximum amount that they can into carrier bags they take.

They are also being reminded to reuse old bags such as using them as waste bin liners or for separating materials within their recycling boxes.

It is estimated on average every citizen in the UK uses 167 bags each year, equating to 10 billion plastic bags each year. The Somerset Waste Partnership's campaign will encourage retailers and check-out staff not to automatically give out carrier bags but to ask shoppers whether they actually need a bag.

The launch is taking place at Kings Cycles in the town, hosted by Dennis King, chairman of Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Mr King said: "Retailers are keen to reduce the environmental impact of their businesses and one easy way to do so is to ask customers whether they want a bag and to encourage the use of reusable bags. I hope that all Wellington retailers get behind this scheme and show the rest of the county how environmentally conscious Wellington is."

For more information on waste and recycling in Somerset, contact Somerset County Council on 0845-3459188 or click on the link below.