Paper bags to replace plastic in RSPCA charity shops

The RSPCA is replacing plastic bags with more environmentally friendly paper ones across its branch charity shops in a big to become more eco-conscious.

The animal welfare charity has launched paper bags across its shops this week so branches can choose to use paper bags over plastic ones. The RSPCA is one of the first charities to move away from single-use plastic carrier bags.

In an average year, the charity bought 510,000 RSPCA plastic carrier bags. It takes hundreds of years for as plastic bag to degrade in landfill and instead of completely breaking down they become microplastics which continue to pollute the environment.

RSPCA retail specialist, Jenny Eden, said: “We wanted to replace our existing plastic carrier bags with something easily recyclable, and being a charity that cares for wildlife, we wanted to make sure that no wild animal could be harmed by one of our bags if it was accidentally discarded.

“As a charity, we have received more than 21,600 reports of animals injured or caught in litter over the past five years and plastic bags play a huge part in this which is why we wanted to play our part in helping animals, the environment and the planet by cutting down on single-use plastic.”

The new paper bags are made and printed in the UK and are made of 100% recycled paper and are fully recyclable.

Customers may see carrier bags in their local branch shop for a while whilst the existing plastic bag stock is used up and replaced with paper ones.

Jenny added: “A big part of achieving a kinder world to animals is working towards our goals in a more conscious way. By striving to be more environmentally conscious each day, we can do our bit to reduce humans’ damaging impact on our planet and our wildlife.

“We’re far from perfect and we have a way to go yet but we’re committed to making the necessary changes and to doing everything that we can to make a difference.”

Other ways the charity is cutting down on plastic:

  • Using fully biodegradable disposable gloves at its national centres, hospitals and branches
  • No longer sending out magazines in polythene wrapping and instead using a more environmentally friendly potato starch wrap (which is 100% biodegradable and compostable)!
  • Removing glitter and foil from our FSC – certified Christmas cards and offering a plastic-free eco option for Christmas crackers from the online shop and catalogue.

Jenny said: “The very principle of charity shops is to recycle preloved items for a good cause. Last year, we launched our Charity Shop Challenge which highlighted the impact fast fashion is having on the environment and encouraged people to shop at our RSPCA charity shops. It is estimated that each charity shop saves 29 tonnes of textiles from ending up in landfill each year and with over 300 RSPCA branch shops that’s around 8,700 tonnes saved or the equivalent weight of over 1,200 African elephants!

“It’s also estimated that a 10% increase in second-hand sales could save 3% carbon waste, 4% water waste and 1% waste per tonne of clothing. So already we really are making a difference!”

To find your local RSPCA charity shop visit: