A NORTH Berwick resident has launched a petition urging the town’s Tesco store to stop providing small plastic bags for fruit and vegetables.

Christiane Maher, of Netherlaw, has witnessed a number of Tesco customers taking a handful of the small plastic bags when they only require one – or others taking a bag for just one item of loose-packed fruit or veg.

And she is dismayed that unused bags are often abandoned in shopping trolleys – and can end up as rubbish outside.

Through her work as treasurer of North Berwick Community Council, Christiane is involved in charity group Fidra’s campaign for less plastic and more reusable packaging.

She is also a volunteer at the town’s day centre and member of the local art and photography groups, but her petition is a personal project.

Christiane said: “It was a great step that free plastic bags were phased out at the tills, but thin plastic bags are still freely available in the fruit and veg aisle. They contribute to our consumption and waste of plastic so, as a matter of principle, they should no longer be used.

“But matters are made worse because a considerable number of customers just grab a handful of them when they enter the shop, use as many as they actually need and leave the remainder in the shopping trolleys, which are then parked outside.

“All too often, the wind then gets hold of these bags and they end up anywhere around town and country.

“This is bad for nature and wildlife in any location. But it becomes even worse in coastal towns, such as North Berwick, where the Tesco store is only a few hundred yards away from the sea, and the majority of these bags then end up there and add to the damage of marine wildlife.”

Christiane wants Tesco to offer paper bags instead.

Tesco said in a statement: “We’re taking action to remove all non-recyclable and excess packaging from our business. For example, we have stopped offering carrier bags with our online deliveries, which means 250 million fewer bags every year.

“The small fruit and veg bags mentioned in the petition can be reused or recycled in our large stores.

“We’re also testing offering paper bags for loose fruit and veg to see which customers are most prepared to reuse and recycle.”

To support Christiane, go to you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-handing-out-plastic-bags-for-fruit-and-veg