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As supermarkets go head to head in a mission to go green and Sainsbury’s pledge to giveaway free ‘bags for life’, a real hero behind ethical shopping argues that a one day campaign is not enough.

Beth Williams, West Midlands based ecology lecturer and founder of Turtle Bags believes that Britain has an addiction to plastic bags, with an estimated 17½ billion plastic bags given away by supermarkets every year, which is equivalent to over 290 bags for every person in the UK.

Turtle Bags are shopping bags made of sisal or string and offer a practical, durable and ethical solution to plastic bags. Their names highlight the problem that occurs when plastic bags are disposed of and cause a hazard to turtles that mistake them for jelly fish and choke on them.

“These strong string bags will hold up to 20lbs in weight, are durable, washable and fit in any handbag, so there is no excuse not to go out without one and use it for life. Many supermarkets’ offer ‘bags for life’ to encourage shoppers to reuse their bags but many of them are still made of plastic,” said Beth Williams.

Sadly, polythene bags have caused many deaths of Leatherback turtles, which are one of five species of turtles visiting UK waters. Beth Williams works closely with the Marine Conservation Society and is encouraging shoppers to use alternatives to plastic bags and reduce plastic pollution.

The sisal bags are made for Turtle Bags by the ‘Grupo Mujer y Medio Ambiente’ women’s co-operative based in the conservation area of the Cloud Forest of Equador. Each bag is individually crafted by the members of the women’s co-op in their own home and labeled by the woman who made the bag. The women are paid directly for each bag that is made.


To arrange and interview with ecology lecturer, Beth Williams, please contact Claire Brown at Seal Communications:

Notes to Editors :

Turtle Bags can be purchased from specialist outlets nationwide and online. For more information visit

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