We're going plastic bag free!

The 36 shops in Newington Green, London N16, used to give out over one million plastic bags each year.

We're trying to cut that to zero. So far we're around 60% of the way.


Mother Earth wholefoods
Ava and Tom
Newington Green Fruit and Vegetables
La Miscelenia
Gingerlily Flowers
Relish Deli
High Class shoes

Please encourage and support these shops and also all the local shops to follow suit. It is only a matter of time, and the more support we give them, the sooner they will join us.
... Green Off Licence are buying their first order of cornstarch bags

... Marcel and his team at our local Tesco store managed a whole week without giving out a single plastic bag in July,

... and finally all 48 shops near Newington Green only gave out a tiny number of reused bags during that week, saving almost 20,000 plastic bags.

Every week we keep this up, we'll save another 20,000 bags.


We are planning a PLASTIC BAG FREE MONTH next July, to coincide with Newington Green Action Group's Jazz on the Green. Stay in touch (see below) and come and join!

A whale on Newington Green

Photos by Katie Hyams 2008

On 13th July 2008, 250 residents built a full-size whale from willow withies on Newington Green to launch our limited edition Newington Green cotton bag funded by Islington Council, and our first 'Plastic Bag Free Week.'
The whale was designed by sculptor Rupert Ackroyd, who with Ben Deakin oversaw the building by a team of six employees of the local Tesco store and 250 local residents.
Almost 2,000 willow withies, seven rolls of tape and over 250 lengths of wire were used to build the whale.
The willow was recycled by Islington Council and the lengths of wire donated to a local garden centre.

The whale was filled with plastic bags to show the damage the bags do to marine life, and was inspired by the wonderful postcard by Laszlo Dluhopolszky:

Over 1,000 residents have pledged to give up using plastic bags.



This is the inspiring, life-changing film that set Modbury on course to become the first plastic bag free town in Britain, and triggered campaigns in a hundred other towns and neighbourhoods around Britain.

Filmed in Hawaii by the BBC Natural History Unit, this portrait of Hawaiian culture and wildlife is rich with the beauty of the islands, but shows how the remotest parts of the Pacific Ocean are clogged with plastic, and how birds are dying in thousands from ingesting plastic, feeding plastic to their young and being trapped in plastic bags.

Cotton bag launched

On 13th July 2008 we launched our limited edition cotton bag.

Four local residents are modelling the bag in the shop window of Genna Savastio and Antonio Resta's new shop Three Potato Four which they have lent us for free.

The launch is supported by Katie Melua (left) and Billy Bragg, who have kindly let us use their images for the display.

Mogadishu, Somalia, February 9 2005: A woman in front of a rubbish dump Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images From the Guardian series of plastic bag photos.

How can I help?

We have a dynamic and committed team of volunteers. If you would like to join the team, please get in touch. You can make any level of commitment and get involved in any aspect of our work, to suit you. We look forward to welcoming you to the team.

We are proud to be a truly grassroots, independent and democratic campaign. We have fantastic support from a wide range of individuals, organisations and businesses, including Islington Friends of the Earth, Islington Council and Newington Green Action Group.

All our work is done by committed people in their spare time.

A huge thank you to everyone who has helped.

Our local councillors (led by Rhodri Jamieson-Ball and Anna Berent) authorised the funding for the 3,000 'Newington Green' cotton bags
The recycling dept of Islington Council (in particular Michael Benn and Simon Carroll) designed and ordered the bags, banners, 1,500 information leaflets, and came up with the idea & gave us 'Say no to plastic bag' stickers for shop counters
Genna Savastio and Antonio Resta of Three Potato Four (a shop on Newington Green opening this Autumn) for lending us their shop including a fantastic window right on the Green, for free
Beth Mosely helped me put up the display in Thee Potato Four
Zoe Stanton and Uscreates (a design company) designed the window display and the posters & have generally helped with ideas and support
Ander Zabala from Hackney Council gave us 1,000 'I love Hackney' bags (and have promised another 1,000), and copied the 'Message in the Waves' publicity leaflets for us
Newington Green Action Group have been extremely supportive and also helped us with funding and publicity
Islington Friends of the Earth helped fund the posters and loaned us the table
Rupert Ackroyd designed the whale and, with Ben Deakin, was master builder on the day, ably assisted by Spencer New, Lucy McDowell and a team of six fantastic volunteers from Tescos
Relish deli for meeting space
Clare Lissaman, Beth Mosley and Genna Savastio distributed the cotton bags
Acoustic cafe for the loan of the projector screen
Mayville Community Centre for a venue to show the film
Mark, Elliot, Phyllis, Daniel and Zac for modelling the bag
Katie Hyams took the photographs both for the window display and for the press on 13th July
Marcel Mitka gave the Tesco community grant to help publicise the whale building, lent clipboards, and is doing a fantastic display in the store as well as organising the whale building team
Greg Foxsmith authorised the funding for two 8-ft bannersThe green team (in particular Rowan Latham and Guarav Chawla) are liaising with various local communities
The greenspace team (Finn Raven) covered the cost of the willow withies and other small expenses with a community event grant
The Business Partnership department in particular Chris Enti for printing the fantastic large photos in the window display
The park ranger (Chris Ingram) lent equipment, tools and support and is dismantling the whale
The plastic bag free Newington Green team (circa 8 people) who have helped publicise the event, taken a poll of local opinion and done hundreds of helpful jobs
Chris from FOE for bringing the folding table from Angel (on the bus!)
Hilary King for willow withies from her garden.
Rick Deith from The Factory for publicising the whale building
Antony Melville for organising the screening
Katie Whyte from Highbury Grove School who gave a class on plastic bags and also gave the plastic bag teaching material to three other teachers, and Georgina Bednar for putting me in touch with Katie
Kate Cattrell from Newington Green School who allowed me to come and talk to the school about the whale building
Beth Crosland got the pledges translated into Turkish and copied the forms
All the libraries and community centres who have put up displays (and Guarav for organising this) - also the student housing on the green.
Duncan and Jo Moulds for helping with press and publicity.
Katie Melua and Billy Bragg for posing with the newington green cotton bags, and Lucy Shaw for organising this
Dermot Egan from Grass shoots for advice and support (see link on right)

Lastly but most importantly, the 'front line' people - all the shops and businesses who have put up posters and are taking part in the plastic bag free week, dealing with recaltricant customers and persuading people to sign the pledge. You are the nub of the whole campaign and on you rests its success or failure!

Who are we?

We are a group of Newington Green residents who are trying to lessen our impact on the environment.

We believe that local action is essential if we are to rise to the challenges we face.

Why ban plastic bags?

Clicking here will take you to a picture of the stomach contents of a whale washed up dead on the Normandy coast in 2002. We'd like to stop this sort of senseless and cruel death by encouraging everyone to bring their own shopping bag.

October launch

We are on course to be the first area in inner London where shops do not hand out plastic bags. This would be a huge triumph and would mean excellent press and PR for Newington Green and the businesses who are based there.

In a poll of over 140 people this year, 94% of residents supported a ban on plastic bags in Newington Green.

We are part of a huge grassroots revolution sweeping the country, against the wasteful use of plastic bags and other plastic containers. So far several towns in the UK (as well as whole countries worldwide) have succeeded and are already enjoying the bliss of a plastic-bag-free existence.

Wondering why we're making all this fuss? Below is some information which will persuade you if you are still unsure, and arm you with facts with which to persuade everyone else in our marvellous little corner of london.

How will it work?

We will all have our own shopping bag. We will bring this bag whenever we go shopping.

What if I forget my shopping bag?

The shopkeeper will sell you a cornstarch bag for 10p. You can reuse this several times. It will then safely biodegrade in your rubbish or compost. You can use it for your Islington Council food waste bag.

Click here for our ACTION PLAN

Plastic is killing our oceans

The Algalita Marine Research Foundation chronicles the problem of marine debris in our ecosystem in this video entitled "Plastic Debris, Rivers to Sea". 80% of marine debris is land-based and 90% of floating marine debris is plastics.

A heartrending story

Plastics in the open sea

Ocean rubbish

Just Say NO to Plastic Bags

Streetfashion says

Don't be a plastic bag hag - reach for cloth sacks and refuse plastic bags in shops, especially fashion retail shops. If you purchase a small item just pop it in your shoulder bag with the receipt. There is no need to have a plastic bag for everything (besides, plastic bags never look good on the arm)!

Plastic bags made from petroleum and gas take hundreds of years to decompose. In the meantime they pollute air and streets and choke animals and marine life. San Francisco, South Africa, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Ireland and France have all taken a stand to outlaw or discourage the use of plastic bags.

Make a stand today, tomorrow and 'tll you die and use funky cloth bags with cool designs and colours. Please refuse to use new plastic bags.

Thanks, Sonja

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posted by Torontostreetfashion.com