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Freddie Mercury joins the fight against plastic bags


We Are What We Do, the global social change movement behind the best selling book Change the World for a Fiver and the Anya Hindmarch I'm Not A Plastic Bag project, is delighted to welcome Freddie Mercury as the latest supporter of its Plastic Ain't My Bag campaign to end the use of single-use, disposable plastic bags.

Yesterday's budget included plans to introduce legislation in 2009 imposing a charge on carrier bags if a reduction in bag use does not come about on a voluntary basis. We Are What We Do believes that small actions x lots of people = BIG change and it is pleased to see that politicians are now highlighting the importance of an issue already being supported by shoppers and retailers.

From today, Freddie's statue outside the Dominion Theatre in London, host to the Queen-Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You, will sport a giant cotton shopping bag, proudly displaying the campaign message Plastic Ain't My Bag.

"We think Freddie would have embraced the message, despite his passion for the art of shopping," says We Will Rock You General Manager Peter Gibbon Hansen. "Let's not forget that years ago Freddie was writing songs on the subject of taking stock of our environment, songs such as ‘Is This The Word We Created' which he wrote with Brian and they sang at Live Aid." The Dominion Theatre has started charging for the carrier bags it uses and is currently developing its own re-usable shopping bag. "We Will Rock You was one of the first shows in the West End to adopt a greener operating policy, something that has already been recognised by the office of the Mayor of London," adds Peter Gibbon Hansen.

Only 10 months ago, We Are What We Do and Anya Hindmarch sought to cast a spotlight on the issue of plastic bag usage by creating a limited edition, re-usable cotton shopper inspired by the first action in their first book ‘Decline plastic bags whenever possible'. The £5 designer bag sold out within hours and hit the headlines immediately, generating queues of hundreds of people desperate to own one.

David Robinson, co-founder of We Are What We Do says:

"We are so pleased that We Will Rock You and the Dominion Theatre have joined our Plastic Ain't My Bag campaign. All too often, we forget that when we throw something away, there is no ‘away'. Currently each of us in the UK uses 167 disposable plastic bags a year*. If we've made people think about that, it's a fantastic achievement."

David continues:

"There is no doubt that the range of initiatives, of which ours is just one, are making a significant impact on the issue of plastic bag usage. M&S charging 5p per bag, Sainsbury's trialling "no bag days", Waitrose introducing "green tills" for people who have their own bags, paper bags in Primark, Superdrug asking customers if they really need a bag - something that has already brought about a 20% reduction in their bag usage - Tesco taking full page ads in the national press to promote their policies, an entire town in Devon giving up plastic bags and retailers nationally leading the charge in our ‘Plastic Ain't My Bag' campaign. None of these things in and of themselves will result in an end to plastic bag usage, but each makes a significant contribution. The latest discussion around the introduction of legislation, the campaign lead by the Daily Mail and the crucial vocal support of many high-profile personalities and celebrities all point towards the fact that we are at a tipping point. Things are going to be different, we are all going to have to ask ourselves whether we really need plastic bags."

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