The world’s first Plastic Bag Free Day takes place on the 12th September 2009. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is proud to support the day, which will encourage shoppers everywhere to ditch plastic bags for good, and to take reusable bags with them instead.

Joining in is easy, and can range from simply not taking plastic bags when out shopping to helping your community or town go Plastic Bag Free. Many local events are planned across the UK to mark the occasion, and the day will also act as a celebration for the 140 towns and communities that have gone, or are planning to go, Plastic Bag Free.

Plastic bags are the ultimate symbol of our throw-away, disposable lifestyles. The 2008 MCS Beachwatch litter survey found 8,174 plastic bags littering UK beaches on just one weekend. The next Beachwatch Big Weekend takes place one week after Plastic Bag Free Day, when we hope to record a decrease in this number. It is vital that we all act now. Animals, especially marine turtles, accidentally eat plastic bags and this may cause them to starve to death. 

Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Pollution Programme Manager said, “This is a fantastic initiative and will hopefully act as an incentive for everyone who still relies on plastic bags to leave them at the check out. We need as many people as possible to take part to make the day a success and show that one of the most preventable forms of plastic litter can easily be stopped. Plastic bags are a menace to marine wildlife and blight our landscape.  Groups as far afield as Canada and Hawaii are taking part and making this a truly international day!”

The Marine Conservation Society has prepared a free pack to help anyone who wants to make their community Plastic Bag Free. For more information, and to find out how you can get involved, please go to

MCS is extremely grateful to Esmee Fairbairn and Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation for funding the MCS Plastic Bag Free campaign and pack.