Plastic Bag Free Chesham Campaign

YOU CAN make a difference:

By simply taking your own reusable bags shopping, you can make a real difference to the amount of plastic waste that goes into landfill.

Tips for reducing Plastic Bag use:

  • Always carry a bag (or two) with you - most shops have a good selection of cotton or hessian bags which are relatively inexpensive and can be used again and again.

  • If you shop by car, carry a selection of bags in the car for your supermarket shop & try to remember to take them into the shop with you!

  • When offered a bag in a shop, just say ‘no thank you’. Don’t feel obliged to take a bag.

  • Don’t be afraid to let the shops know that you would rather they offered an alternative to plastic bags.

  • Get your children involved. Tell them to remind you about remembering your bags!


“Customers at the UK's leading supermarkets in the UK used 43% fewer carrier bags in 2009-10 than they did in 2006.”

The Guardian - July 2010.

Picnic Bench in Lowndes Park

The team were are very grateful to Waitrose for donating a picnic bench made from their ‘Bags for Life’ for us to give to the town as a reminder of the campaign’s success. It has been installed in Lowndes Park. Take a trip to the park to have a look and try it out!


A fairtrade organic ‘Chesham’ cotton bag which was designed for our campaign is available in a number of local shops in two handy sizes and is also available through Transition Town Chesham stalls.

Cornstarch Bags

The Town Council have a stock of cornstarch bags which local retailers can buy at a very reasonable price as an alternative to plastic bags.


The campaign team offer their thanks to all the local people, independent retailers and national chains in the town who supported Plastic Bag Free Chesham.

A history of PBFC

A small group of local residents with this common aim got together in September 2007 and approached the Town Council who were happy to lend their support.

After two significant events, many people in Chesham gave their support to the campaign.

The first was a showing in the Town Hall of the film by Rebecca Hoskins, “Message in the Wave”. This was the film that launched the campaign in the UK, made when Rebecca visited Hawaii to film wildlife and discovered the mountain of plastic waste that is clogging their habitat and a large part of the Pacific Ocean.

The second was a well supported meeting of local retailers where many pledged to do what they could to cut down on offering single use plastic bags. Most significantly, this meeting was supported by both our main supermarkets, Waitrose and Sainsbury.

The team was very grateful to the support of both these supermarkets throughout the campaign, setting up “Green Tills” and allowing them to canvas customers.

The campaign became regular stall holders at the annual Victorian evenings in November and from time to time took a stall in Market Square.

The Chesham PBF group were the instigators of the National PBF Day held on 12th September 2009 which was taken up by many other groups around the UK. This was supported by letter writing initiatives to the large chains asking for their support.

By 2010, the campaign team felt they had achieved their original objective of significantly reducing plastic bag use in Chesham and, although not entirely become ‘plastic bag free’, there is a huge difference to the number of single use bags used over the course of the three year campaign.

By this time, the Transition Town movement had started a group in Chesham and the PBF work became a natural part of this more wide reaching cause.

But this is no time to rest on laurels. The over use of plastic bags, wrapping and packaging is an ongoing problem in modern society. The campaign will still hold relevance for many years to come.


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