Campaign to show: there's Bags of Life in Witney
Witney is gearing itself up for a major environmental campaign, to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. Town centre businesses and local schools will work together on the voucher-based campaign which will encourage shoppers to take their own bags when they come to Witney to shop.
A shopper who is offered a plastic bag when they buy something in one of the Witney town centre stores that takes part, but says 'no thanks' – because they have their own bag for life or re-use an old plastic bag - will be given a voucher. These vouchers can then be given to one of the town's schools who will collect as many as they can.
The campaign – called "Bags of Life in Witney" - is funded by Oxfordshire Waste Partnership and led by the Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network (OTCN at www.otcn.co.uk). It will be launched in September and run through until the end of January 2010. OTCN’s Alison Nicholson says: “We've had an enthusiastic response both from the businesses we've spoken with so far and a number of schools who are keen to take part. It's a great way for business and schools to work together to reduce the number of plastic bags being handed out in Witney shops and make a difference to the environment.”
Eiles Robinson, Household Waste Reduction Officer for Oxfordshire County Council says: “It's thought that plastic bags can take anything from 100 to 1,000 years to biodegrade. People accumulate several plastic bags on each shopping trip. This is an incredible waste of precious resources including oil. The voucher scheme will bring together traders and residents to help cut down on single use plastic bags in the town, and the County Council are delighted to work with the Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network on this exciting new venture.”
Children from the town's two secondary schools, Wood Green and Henry Box, have been working on designs for the vouchers that will be given to shoppers and posters that will promote the scheme. Local traders joined the panel that helped choose the winnings designs.
Kim Cook of Hackett's coffee bar & bistro, who was among the judges, says: “It was a great pleasure to see the careful thought and hard work put in by local students on these great designs. Hackett's wholeheartedly supports this vital environmental project and the benefits and awareness it can bring to the town of Witney.” Fellow judge, Rodney Hartnell at the Woolgate Shopping Centre says: “It's nice to be part of a promotion where everyone is a winner and more importantly the community can pull together to protect the environment.”
OTCN is a communications network bringing together 24 local chambers and other business groups in the county with 1600 member businesses between them.
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