Knit for Nature yarn-bombing highlights change in legislation on plastic carrier bags

Press Release: 06/10/2015

Yarn Tree

With the law changing on carrier bags in England, Winchester City Council has found an innovative way to encourage local organisations to play their part in spreading the ‘bag-free’ message.

Working with Hat Fair and Winchester Action on Climate Change, the Council has commissioned artist Rebecca Wills to tour an artistic ‘yarn-bombing’ installation around the Winchester District as part of Winchester City Council’s Great Waste campaign.

First seen at the Hat Fair in July, this colourful installation uses recycled carrier bags instead of the more traditional knitting yarn to draw attention to issues of waste, excessive consumption and the piles of carrier bags we all hoard in our homes.

Trees at Denmead and Twyford have already been ‘yarn-bombed’, along with a fence in Wickham during the Wickham Festival. The Council is now looking for other community groups holding special events who would like the installation to visit their neighbourhood, accompanied by the artist.

Cllr Frank Pearson, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said:

Plastic bags can take anything from 10 to 100 years to break down. They spoil our natural landscape, cause harm to our wildlife and they can never fully biodegrade. They are also to be found floating in our lakes, seas and oceans and, via the aquatic food chain, get into our food chain. We don't need plastic carrier bags as there are alternatives. Help us get rid of them. This new law is an important step forward in caring for our environment, and we are drawing attention to this in a colourful and light-hearted way thanks to the Hat Fair team.

The new legislation, which came into effect from Monday 5 October 2015, means that all larger shops in England will now charge customers 5p for a single use carrier bag, and smaller outlets can also opt to join in.

The charge aims to reduce the use of plastic bags, and the damage to the environment that they cause. As a shopper, you can avoid being charged by re-using your own bags and containers. Similar legislation introduced in Wales in 2011 led to a 79% drop in the use of carrier bags.

To request a visit from Rebecca and her ‘Knit for Nature’ installation, please contact Carol Hussey at Winchester City Council To find out more about events and other initiatives which form part of the Great Waste campaign, visit the webpage at, like it on Facebook at or follow it on Twitter @TheGreatWaste15