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  1. ITV Report

Store's embarrassing plastic bag campaign backfires dramatically

The plastic bags carry embarrassing slogans designed at deterring use. Credit: East West Market

If destroying the planet, killing marine species or being charged 5p isn't enough to deter you from using plastic bags, how about if they were emblazoned with embarrassing slogans?

That was the idea behind a Canadian stores anti-plastics campaign which saw up to 1,000 plastic bags printed with messages such as 'Dr. Toews’ Wart Ointment Wholesale', 'Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium' or 'The Colon Care Co-op'.

It was hoped the idea of walking in public with such an embarrassing bag would encourage people to use their own, but instead people have been buying them as collectables.

"Some of the customers want to collect them because they love the idea of it," David Lee Kwen, the owner of Vancouver’s East West Market, told The Guardian.

The campaign began with an Instagram video outlining how "over 1,000,000 plastic bags are used every minute. Most of which are once then discard."

The video goes on to explain how the stores bags were redesigned to stop people from taking them and make customers "think twice about single-use plastic".

Despite being described as a "good idea" and "clever" by social media users, some wondered why the store did "not just stop offering plastic bags?"

Another social media user commented: "Most places that are serious about getting rid of plastic bags just get rid of them and leave reusable bags as the only option. Using plastic bags to create an advertising campaign has nothing to do with protecting the environment."

The campaign coincides with a Canadian pledge to eliminate single use plastics by 2021, following the EU's pledge to ban 10 single-use plastics by 2021.

The damaging effect single-use plastics are having on the planet is becoming more and more obvious, with plastic discarded in oceans even ending up on dinner plates.

There are an estimated 270,000 tonnes of plastic waste floating on our oceans, creating a "plastic soup" and killing an estimated 100,000 sea creatures each year.

This underwater image shows plastic waste in a coral reef on Abd al Kuri, a rocky island in the Indian Ocean. Credit: Greenpeace

There are growing concerns over hidden microplastics that are ingested by marine species that are rapidly making their way into the food chain.

These microplastics and chemicals are eaten by fish, and eventually by us when we eat them.

Last year one hundred and fifteen plastic cups and 25 plastic bags were among nearly 6kg of rubbish found in the stomach of a dead whale that washed ashore in eastern Indonesia.

Despite signs all over the world revealing the negative impact of plastic, not everyone is on board with cutting its usage.

After McDonald's moved to replace its plastic straws with paper ones, dozens complained about the practicality of the new alternative.