Primrose Hill pledges to bin the plastic bag

Traders and customers aim to make their ‘little island’ an example to the rest of the capital

Published: September 29, 2011

THE people of Primrose Hill have declared war... on the plastic bag.

A group of traders, environmentalists and residents want the area to be transformed into London’s first plastic bag-free village by the end of the year.

Doro Marden, of Gloucester Avenue, is leading the campaign, determined that tourists and locals should pack their boutique purchases in recycled newspaper bags, their fresh baked bread in cotton totes (canvas bags) and stationery in brown paper.

Mrs Marsden said: “This is about creating a sustainable future – about creating a positive impact on the environment. We should be becoming less and less reliant on oil – which is what plastic bags are made from – as the price goes up and up, and getting rid of plastic bags is the most obvious, small step we can all take.”

The project, being run by Transition Primrose Hill in partnership with charity Global Ocean, already has the support of dozens of traders and Primrose Hill Business Association. “In Primrose Hill we are a very defined area, like a little island, so it is the perfect place to extend the idea of getting rid of the plastic bag to encompass a whole village,” added Mrs Marsden. “If only one or two shops get involved then it won’t really make an impact but when everyone gets on board, and every shop is only serving people in paper or cloth bags – and possibly getting people to pay for a plastic bag if they need one – it will start to change the way they think about the plastic they use.”

Gillian Anderson Price, of vintage boutique Judith Michael & Daughter – who features as an expert on ITV’s House Gift – already hands out bags handmade from recycled newspaper.

She said: “If Primrose Hill can manage to be plastic bag-free then it is setting an example for everyone. We are all independent traders and so if we can afford to stop handing out plastic bags then all the big shops from Selfridges to John Lewis can certainly do it.”

Jo Barnett, who runs Prim Nail and Beauty Salon in Erskine Road, added: “It is about the power of suggestion. If you challenge the idea that you always need a plastic bag you get people thinking – and more often than not when you think about it you realise you don’t need a bag at all.”

Global Ocean, an environmental charity based in Primrose Hill, has been highlighting the green credentials of ­banishing the plastic bag from Primrose Hill by organising public screenings of A Message In The Waves, a film about the deadly consequences to marine life when plastic bags are thrown into the ocean.

The next big challenge for the group is to decide who will design the exclusive Primrose Hill village tote (canvas) bag – a tough choice as many local artists have already offered their services.


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