Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Meet the baggers

Here's just a few of the people who are helping to make Highbury Barn plastic bag free: Lulu, Sylvie, Joe, Lola, Nicola, Caroline, Giuliana, George, Neil and Virendra. (Cinzia was busy doing press work with Yehia).

Next big event is Sat 28 March, 3.30-5.30pm. Come and watch a FREE movie and enjoy loads of FREE snacks and cakes at Christ Church, Highbury Hill. It's the most enjoyable way we can think of to help more people remember their bags more of the time.

Remember: keys, wallet, bag.

Monday, 23 February 2009


This is the spot where we'll be saying thank you to everyone who is helping Highbury Barn go plastic bag free.
First big thanks to Bromwen Davies for her excellent logo. Lots more of you will be added as time goes by...
And a huge thank you to Cristiano who created our plasticbagfreehighburybarn website, see it here.

1st press release: Highbury Barn set to go plastic bag free


Sent by: new group Highbury Barn Plastic Bag Free

Contact/sender of press release: Nicola Baird 0779 2717140
Contact: Cinzia Sarigu 020 7359 1824 07519 576962

Highbury Barn is on the way to going plastic bag free. A-street survey in December found that eight out of 10 shoppers at the Barn wanted Highbury Barn to go plastic bag free. And now a small group of residents are working on a plan to make it happen. Full survey results are at (a bit lower)

It's not just that plastic bag litter makes Highbury Barn look tatty. Plastic bags – just like the ones we sometimes unthinkingly ask for in the shops - and then typically use just once, for that 15 minute stroll home - are piling up environmental problems all round the world.

Plastic bag litter is lethal. It kills hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide each year.

In London 1.6 billion plastic bags are handed out by shopkeepers each year (and just 0.05 are recycled). The rest end up in landfill...

Plastic bags are really tough. They can take up to 1,000 years to break down. But if they blow out of a landfill site they can choke many unlucky animals and birds to death over and over again.

Now local mums and others who love Highbury Barn’s unique shopping character – Caroline Bucknall, Cinzia Sarigu, Lulu Radinger, Caroline Russell and Nicola Baird plus Neil Devlin are putting on a screening of Message in the Waves, the brilliant film that launched the UK’s first plastic bag free town in Modbury, Devon.

Traders at the Barn have been invited to an exclusive preview on Wednesday 25 February. Any trader who can’t make it will be given a free DVD of the film or helped to find it at the group’s new website,

“Going plastic bag free is the first step to reeducate ourselves in saving resources and taking care of our precious planet,” said Cinzia Sarigu who lives on Highbury Grove. “Although some people forget to bring out a bag when they pop to the shops, most of us try to bring a reusable bag or reuse a plastic bag. When we were doing the survey we found that nearly every one of the 100 people we asked said that they would be willing to pay a few pence for a biodegradable bag.”

“It’s such a small decision in your day just remembering to take a bag with you when you leave the house,” says Caroline Bucknall. “We know there are big problems in the world, but it’s good to be making changes to my daily habits that help me be the change I want to see.”

Yehia El Nemer at Oasis café in Highbury Fields said: “I don’t give out plastic bags, and when I go to a supermarket I take my bag. It’s such a waste. I support this idea 100 per cent.”

Families can come to a free screening of Message in the Waves on Sat 28 March at 3.30pm. This will be held at Christ Church. It’s a brilliant film, set in Hawaii that shows how plastic bags impact on the world. Expect to see great shots of surfing, playful dolphins, rock stars and baby albatrosses.

After the film take your cloth bag to the shops at Highbury Barn to buy something tasty for dinner.

You can add comments of support or suggestions about what next at the new blog

Last year Newington Green was the first area in Islington to become plastic bag free.

Highbury Barn traders have not yet been asked to support plastic bag free Highbury Barn campaign. The group of local campaigners want the traders to have all the info before they are asked to decide if they’d like to – or are able to - make their own stores/restaurants plastic bag free. Here are some notes if journalists wish to contact any traders.

The campaign has been given backing by local (highbury east) Lib Dem Councillor Terry Stacy. We hope many more local councillors will give their support. Our next step is to ask them.

Dates to follow:
This week – NEW website launched at
Tues 25 Feb – film for traders only, 6.15-8.30pm at Christ Church, Highbury Barn
Sat 28 Mar – free film for families, 3.30-5.30pm at Christ Church, Highbury Barn

Friday, 6 February 2009

Invitation: shoppers & families

Q: Why do dolphins play with plastic bags?
Q: Why is Hawaii a plastic dumping ground?
Q: Why’s a marine filmmaker from Devon so tough about using plastic bags?
Q: How do toothbrushes, print cartridges and lighters get inside albatross?

Q: Will it make a difference if I stop using plastic bags?

Find out the answers by joining us for a FREE family film show, Message in the Waves, on Saturday 28 March, 3.30-5.30pm. There will be drinks and cakes available. All aged children are welcome. It’s a chance to think about the best ways we can wean ourselves off using plastic bags… ideal for enthusiasts, sceptics, film lovers and anyone who loves the seaside.

Venue: Christ Church (main hall).

Find out more about making Highbury Barn plastic bag free at our brand new website -

Invitation: shop owners and staff

Come see a FREE film on Wed 25 Feb

If you are retailer, shop owner, café or restaurant manager, or work in a business at Highbury Barn please come to our EXCLUSIVE screening for businesses only of a short film, Message in the Waves, on Wednesday 25 February from 6.15-8.30pm.

It’s a free event. We would also like to offer you a drink and some snacks.
Venue: Christ Church (main hall).

There will be a chance to chat, meet members of the Plastic Bag Free Highbury Barn group and to ask questions about bags, plastic and the survey of Highbury Barn shoppers – 81 per cent support Highbury Barn going plastic bag free.

Find out more about making Highbury Barn plastic bag free at our brand new website -

Team meeting:10 Feb

Tuesday 10 February 8 pm, Cinzia's house. Tel.02073591824/ 07519576962
Action: please have a look at our new website before arriving!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Plastic bag free survey as statistics

Summary of our December 2008 survey (see the numerical answers in the entry below/ 4 January 2009). Here you can read the survey results as statistics.
  • Most shoppers (81 per cent) at Highbury Barn would like the shops at Highbury Barn to stop giving out plastic bags for free.

Question 1 More than 100 towns in Britain have banned plastic bags - do you think that Highbury Barn should?
A) yes 81%
B) no10%
C) not really 3%
D) not ban but strongly discourage 5%
E) doesn’t really matter/not sure 2%

Question 2Do you use a re-usable bag when shopping?
A) yes 61%
B) No 8%
C) sometimes/usually19%
D) try to remember but forget 12%
E) not sure1%

Question 3 How much would you be willing to pay for a biodegradeable bag (eg, corn starch)? Answers between 6p - 15p.
A) 6p - 10p 34%
B) 10p 20%
C) 10p - 15p 28%
D) 15p 10%
E) 20p 2%
F) want them to be free 5%

Question 4 And how much would you be willing to pay for a re usable bag (eg, cloth)? Answers between 50p - £2.00.
A) 50p 9%
B) 50p - £1.00 25%
C) £1 -40%
D) £1.00 - £2.00 16%
E) £2.00 5%
F) want them to be free 3%
G) wouldn’t pay 1%
H) don’t know 1%

During 2008 Newington Green was the first Islington borough to go plastic bag free. Their plastic bag free group, co-ordinated by Orlando Jopling, also did a survey (in spring 2008) which you can see on their blog here. We have compared the results (where the questions allowed us to).

The Newington Green blog has six relevant statistics that allow comparison.

Some are straightforward:
94% shoppers in Newington Green would support a ban on free plastic bags
81 % shoppers in Highbury Barn would support a ban on shops giving out free plastic bags.

Very few shoppers in Newington Green are prepared to pay £1 for a reusable bag.
Shoppers in Highbury Barn were more precise. A quarter (25 per cent) said that, for cloth bags the'd pay up to £1. Nearly half (40 per cent) said they'd pay around £1. And 16 per cent said they'd pay between £1-2. 16%. Highbury Barn shoppers seem much more willing than Newington Green shoppers to pay for reusable bags.

The other comparisons are more complex.

More than half (66 per cent) of Newington Green shoppers said they were prepared to pay for a bag. We didn’t put the question in that way to Highbury Barn shoppers. We broke the question down into types of bag. At Highbury Barn 94% said they were prepared to pay for a biodegradable bag. Even more (95%) said they were prepared to pay for a reusable bag.

Newington Green got the result that more than half (52%) would pay up to 5p for a reusable bag. But at Highbury Barn we asked the question: "How much would you be willing to pay for a biodegradeable bag (eg, corn starch)?" We found that: 34% said 6p-10p (the 6p-10p category is the nearest category our survey had to Newington Green's 5p choice) with the bulk of respondents happy to pay more than 6p.)

The survey statistics were pulled together by Plastic Bag Free Highbury Barn group member Neil Devlin.