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Ely aims to become first 'plastic-free' city thanks to fabric bag scheme

Ely hoping to go plastic free with new fabric bag scheme
Ely hoping to go plastic free with new fabric bag scheme

Traders to be handed sustainable bags for free under new project

Residents in Ely are being urged to help it become ‘plastic free’ by using ‘borrow bags’ made out of old fabric.

Shops in the city have backed the idea of offering cloth and paper bags to customers and the city has joined the nationwide Morsbags scheme, which invites volunteers to help make and distribute the bags or donate fabric.

Traders will be handed them for free and customers will be encouraged to return them or pass them on after use.

Lesley Partridge, from Ely sewing shop Sew Much To Do, who will help with the fabric bag making, said: “Paper bags are easier to recycle but they’re expensive for small traders to buy, so these fabric bags are more environmentally and economically friendly.

“We’ve got to work together to sort out the problem of plastic bags. As a sewing shop, we’re well placed to make a difference with this scheme.”

Tracey Harding, from Visit Ely, insists that the modest size of the city would play a major part in its bid to become the first plastic bag-free city centre.

She said: “It would be great to say we have achieved that. We’re not the size of Cambridge or Oxford so we have a relatively small, tight network of shopkeepers.

“Many have already switched to cloth and paper bags and Waitrose is committed to reducing single-use plastic too, so we are hoping the momentum builds.”

Each bag will hopefully carry the Ely Borrow Bag logo, a Morsbag tag.

Bag labels are available from either Ely Tourist Information Centre or Sew Much To Do, High Street Passage. Staff at Visit Ely, based at the Tourist Information Centre, have already been busy, with the first batch of Ely borrow bags now available to visitors.

More than eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year and more than a million plastic bags are used every minute around the world.

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