Plastic: Where do you think it goes? Please watch our short film (it’ll only take 30 seconds) Greener upon Thames wants YOU to help reduce plastic bag use in the UK. Why? Plastic bags last up to 1,000 years ...

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Where Do You Think It Goes?

Plastic: Where do you think it goes?


Please watch our short film (it’ll only take 30 seconds)

Greener upon Thames wants YOU to help reduce plastic bag use in the UK.

Plastic bags last up to 1,000 years
Each person uses on average 20,000 plastic bags in their lifetime
Plastic bags do NOT biodegrade
They kill wildlife and marine life
They act like a sponge absorbing toxins and passing them into the food chain
The “Pacific Plastic Stew” - waste accumulating in the Pacific Ocean - is now six times the size of the UK
It is EASY to live without them – take a reusable bag with you

Back us in getting the new Government to ban or introduce a national levy on single use plastic bags.


Please watch our 30 second film, sign our petition at and forward this email on to your contacts.

THANKS SO MUCH – together we can do this!

Christmas Update

Christmas nearly upon us and we want to thank you for your support through the year, whether your signature on our petition or in more substantial form in the fight against plastic bags. We feel a bit like those ducks, floating serenely on the water, but paddling like mad underneath!


Greener upon Thames ends the year on a high.

We joined in the festive cheer at Kew Sparkle and Barnes Christmas Shopping night, making a profit of over £400 for our campaign against single use plastic bags in the Borough. The Krispy Kreme donuts and hot chocolates flew from the stalls.

The Eco Dinosaur (made from wood and plastic bags) created by students of Holy Trinity Primary School in Sheen has had a starring role in the window display of the SOSS (Support our Small Shops) pop-up Gallery in Barnes. Andrea Craig of Support SOSS said, "We are absolutely delighted to have raised £500 so far on behalf of Greener Upon Thames. The pop-up shop has been very successful and we have had lots of interest from shoppers, residents and local artists interested in displaying their work. It has been brilliant to be part of and there will be more opening in the coming months".

PlasticBagFree Kingston and Ham United Group have joined the other urban villages on the river as members of GreeneruponThames, staging events and campaigning, some of which was fun, and some was cold and windy, but we were all warmed by people’s positive response!

Although as the Copenhagen Climate Summit comes to a close, and many other immediate and very important challenges face us, we carry on with what to some may seem like a minor campaign. It isn’t. When President Kennedy talked about aiming for the moon, he said, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Well, what we are trying to do is easy. Just take your own reusable bag and say no to a plastic bag, and spread the message. This isn’t a moon shot, it’s much closer to home. It’s a small but essential part of looking after our Earth.

Greener upon Thames has exciting plans for the New Year. We will be shooting our film, launching our Greener Bag and badges and on 21st January holding an event at the Bingham Hotel in Richmond. Thank you again for your support (and if you can give us more, that would be good – look forward to hearing from you!).

With best wishes for an absolutely fabulous plastic bag free 2010!

Greener upon Thames

Re: Plastic bags again

Another update from Carole...


International News

* Ireland has placed a levy on plastic bags. Oh, no, that was in 2002
* The Welsh environment minister proposed that a 15p levy be placed on plastic bags. But that was June 2009.
* 9 Jan 2008 ... The Chinese government announces a crackdown on plastic bags, in a bid to cut pollution and save resources. (BBC News)
* It looks as though Australia will be banning plastic bags state by state. South Australia has become the first to ban them, on 4 May 2009, but other states are pushing to join.

National News

Sorry, none. The UK government is still relying on voluntary action to reduce takeup of single use bags. Why?

Local news

GreeneruponThames supporters are still out there, working on the campaign to get the government to bring in a levy on single use bags.

We know it’s not the most important threat to life on this planet – what with climate change, overpopulation, war and disease. It is, in the great scheme of things, maybe quite small. But we can do it, and we should do it.

Here are a few words from Karen, who collected pledges from 90 shops in Sheen, to ask customers if they need a plastic bag, and to reuse plastic bags:

“The majority of the businesses I spoke to thought this was a good idea …, from the businesses I spoke to, this is a well supported and well considered thing to do.”

And also from the manager of Kingston Branch TKMaxx, which has a policy since last year to charge for plastic bags:

“You have to explain to some customers why we’re charging, but we have reduced usage by 70%”

A personal view

As you grow older, you recognise that you won’t be a hero. You won’t climb Everest, or be a famous ballerina or invent the cure for the common cold. You accept that the most you can do is live a decent life, try to bring up your children with a moral compass, give them more than you had and prepare them for a future you can’t envisage.

What I really hate is the fact that my most enduring legacy will be the plastic bags I brought home from the supermarket, the yogurt pots and the bread wrappers. That they will be there for centuries after I’m gone, polluting the seas, releasing their toxic chemicals into the food chain and causing harm where I had only hoped to do good.

We’re not giving up and neither should you.

GreeneruponThames continues to campaign. We welcome your support.

10:10 Campaign goes to parliament

If you haven't heard of 10:10 yet you should get informed...anyone and everyone is invited to pledge to cut their carbon by 10% in 2010.

The Lib Dems have brought a motion for parliament to make the pledge.

let's hope the gov signs up.

Can Greener-upon Thames make the 10:10 cut too?


Carole Reports from the Front Line

Once upon a time, on a blustery autumn day, 4 intrepid warriors of the Greener tribe set out to save the environment . There was M, an experienced fighter, calm and undaunted in the face of adversity; W, enthusiastic, committed and brave; J, engaging, energetic and prepared, and finally C, driven by a mixture of outrage and zealous determination. But smiling with it.

Well, that’s what it felt like. You had to be there.

What really happened: We gave out leaflets and asked shoppers to sign our petition. We visited a parade of shops and asked them to sign a pledge to promote the use of reusable bags, keep plastic bags out of sight and ask customers if they needed a bag before providing one.

Here are some of their responses:

Pet Food Supplies
Absolutely! we don’t give out plastic bags, we use reusable and already ask customers to bring in their own (served customer and took an old Tesco bag from under the counter for her).

sadly, surrounded by plastic, but nevertheless passionate that the environment should be looked after, he would do what he could, and it was a disgrace the way our fish stocks had been managed. “Our customers bring their own bags.”

Certainly, did agree that plastic bags should be paid for. Among other things, would reduce the rubbish littering the parade

Upmarket Wine Merchant
Happy to sign. Did not give out any plastic bags, reused their boxes

Convenience Store
Signed to do his best, but felt under pressure to provide bags, as they were available free up the road from Asda.

Our star. Wrapped his food products in waxed paper, was prepared to fill customers’ own containers, asked them to bring their own bags and had a little rant about the litter and this is not allowed in South Africa, where he is from. (also, by the way, not allowed in Australia, Ireland, China, Bangladesh ….. )

Oriental Foods
Manager not in, but deputy promised to hand form over for signature. In less than perfect English, he engaged in informed discussion, wished us well and said he fully supported our campaign. Smiling nods from other staff.

We visited 13 shops.
We took away 10 signed pledges, with one possible to follow.
Almost without exception, passersby accepted the leaflets and most were prepared to sign the petition.
We collected 79 signatures in support and we were only out an hour.

If I were a politician and I got this sort of feedback on an issue, I would think this was a mandate.


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