Press Centre

The new north south divide!

*Forget house prices, rival football teams and regional accents … carrier bags are the new north south divide.

Asda shoppers in the South West are fully taking on board the green message by cutting their reliance on single use carriers by a staggering 40.3% over the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, those in the north appear to be struggling to change their habits. Liverpudlians have only managed to reduce their carrier bag use by 8.8% and in the North East it’s not much higher at 12.7%.

The massive regional differences have been highlighted following ASDA’s removal of single use carrier bags from the end of checkouts at the start of this month.

Since the initiative was introduced, ASDA has seen an average reduction of 25% in carrier bag use across the country.

Customers can still request single use bags from the checkout operator, but many are turning instead to more sustainable bags for life.

Over the past three weeks ASDA has seen sales of its 5p bags for life reach a record 3.8 million – that’s 50% more than the total amount sold during the whole of 2007.

In addition, sales of re-usable bags woven and jute bags have had a dramatic 1,200% increase.

ASDA sustainability manager Paul Hedley said: “This is fantastic news. We are the first retailer to take this bold step and completely remove carrier bags from our checkouts.

“We believe this is the best way to encourage shoppers to change the habit of a life time and start reusing their bags instead. We can all do our bit for the environment – this is about incentivising not penalising, saving the planet one bag at a time.

“What’s more, ASDA isn’t profiteering from customer’s decision to go green – our bags for life are sold at cost."

The top five ASDA regions in terms of carrier bag reduction are:

  • South West (includes Somerset, Devon, Cornwall stores) – 40.3%
  • South Midlands (Nuneaton, Gloucester, Hereford, Hinkley, Coventry, Leamington, Bromsgrove, Abbey Park) – 29.8%
  • M4 area (includes stores in Bristol, Swindon, Newport and Reading) – 28.9%
  • South Coast (includes Poole, Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth stores) – 27.2%
  • Notts / Derby – 26.8% Among the areas which have has the lowest reduction are Liverpool – 8.8%; North East – 12.7%; Fens and Lincolnshire – 13.7% and Central Scotland – 14.2%. Ends*
Posted in Press Centre on 10 June 2008