Dunmow is set to go plastic free

PUBLISHED: 17:03 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 17:56 31 May 2010

Dunmow are set to go plastic bag free

Dunmow are set to go plastic bag free

GREAT Dunmow is set to become the first plastic bag free town in Essex as an initiative backed by the Chamber of Commerce and Town Strategy Group begins to gather pace. Plastic shopping bags will become a thing of the past as the town looks to go green

GREAT Dunmow is set to become the first plastic bag free town in Essex as an initiative backed by the Chamber of Commerce and Town Strategy Group begins to gather pace.

Plastic shopping bags will become a thing of the past as the town looks to 'go green' in 2008 by turning to reusable alternative options.

Bruce Tice, Uttlesford District Council's market towns project co-ordinator, said: "The ideal goal is to have no plastic bags in Dunmow at all, but we will need to explore all alternatives such as material bags. It is a great chance for Dunmow to put itself on the map, as over the next few years towns all over the UK will consider the same strategy."

Towns such as Bedford, and Diss in Norfolk, are already considering using the Dunmow blueprint in the future, depending on the outcome.

Mr Tice said: "The key to getting such a project off the ground is involvement, from societies, councils and shopkeepers to the customers themselves."

But that should not be a problem as the project already has the backing of the Chamber of Commerce, The Dunmow Society, Town Strategy Group and Dunmow Town clerk Owen Wilson has confirmed the full backing of the council.

A consultation process is currently underway with shopkeepers filling in survey forms and so far the feedback has been. Chairman of the Dunmow Chamber of Commerce Mike Perry is one shop-owner who completed the survey. He said: "This is something that has been on our agenda for a while now, we don't want to join a bandwagon but if this initiative does come up with a viable alternative to the necessary evil that is a plastic bag then we would fully support it."

Customers and shop-owners alike are being invited to an evening on January 21 at the Foakes Hall in Stortford Road, Dunmow, at 7.30pm to air their views and take away survey sheets.

Following the consultation process, says Mr Tice, grant funding will be sought if the public support is strong enough and likely targets for financial support are waste and landfill companies such as Biffa.

He said: "The ultimate decision lies with the town as a whole. Businesses such as the Co-op have helped run a similar scheme in Modbury, Devon, which became the first village in Europe to implement a no plastic bag scheme in May 2007, but it still needs full support from everyone.

Waitrose in Saffron Walden also ran a bag ban over a three week trial period they saved 31,600 bags.

"We are hoping that this will encourage Tesco to get on board with the project," said Mr Tice.

To help public involvement, the town could have an independent reusable bag with a Dunmow logo printed on it. Mr Tice said: "It would be great to invite designs from people all over the town and run a competition to give Great Dunmow not only a sustainable bag, but one with a real personal touch."

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