Jute Bag Launch - English Press Release

Xàbia ecological bags

Xàbia takes the first step towards eliminating plastic bags use in the town

Could Xàbia become the first town in Spain to become plastic bag free? This week the association PUXS “ Towards a sustainable Xabia” launched the “Xabia ecològica” reusable jute bag and brought this goal a step closer. Inspired by the example of Modbury in Devon, (http://www.plasticbagfree.com/) , the first town in the UK to become plastic bag free , and similar initiatives in many other countries, the group decided to see if the use of bags in Xàbia could be reduced, and eventually eliminated, by encouraging residents and visitors to return to using “bags for life” . These attractive hard wearing bags can help to change attitudes of the “throw away society” where hundreds of thousands of single use plastic bags are given away free everyday and whose polluting effects can be seen decorating the trees and floating in the sea in Xabia.

The PUXS association, formed by the local Agenda 21 environment group, has bought almost 2000 of these bags to supply to shops and other small businesses in the municipality with the benefit of bulk buy prices.

The bags themselves, printed with the logo “Xàbia ecològica” which was donated by the Banyeres design studio, are manufactured in India at a “Fair Trade” factory and are made of jute, a strong and resilient material, and come in three sizes. The reverse of the bags is empty, for businesses to overprint with their chosen logo. The bags are distributed by the organisation in return for a donation of the cost price of 2 € for the smallest model and 3 € for the two larger models. All three have strong, comfortable handles, making them attractive bags for shopping, beach use, carrying papers and many other uses.

Plastic bag use is a major source of pollution and contributes directly to the deaths of millions of animals worldwide, particularly marine life ; it is estimated that around the world more than 1 trillion plastic bags a year are consumed and most of them end their short life in a landfill site, where they take hundreds of years to degrade.
Spain is the third largest consumer of plastic bags in Europe and so far has lacked many initiatives to reduce their use, although the Spanish Government recently announced that they hoped to half their use by 2015.

The Xàbia initiative is supported by the Town Council and by the organisations representing small traders in the old town, the port and the Arenal areas. The bags will be for sale in shops and businesses and the association hopes that as their use spreads, shopkeepers will be encouraged to stop automatically putting every item sold in a plastic bag and shoppers will stop asking for them.

Councillor Pepa Chorro , responsible for the Department of Citizen Participation in Xàbia , described the initiative as one in which every one gains – the public who can buy attractive, hard wearing and multi use bags at a low price, the shopkeepers who will benefit from the publicity and increased trade that the bags engender, the municipality of Xàbia from the promotion of the town as ecologically aware and the environment from a lessening of the pollution of the plastic bags.

For more information contact Nina Davies

Picture : the bag launch at the Port Tourist Office , July 7 2009, Xabia councillors, representatives of local traders and members of PUXS


(Below) EuroWeekly July 23rd

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