In a unique experiment, residents of picturesque Overton in Hampshire are voting to select designs for cotton bags that will be manufactured in Mumbai and will help the village turn plastic-free.
The village's big switchover to greener shopping has been set for Nov 30. From that date, shops in the village will stop offering disposable plastic bags and ask customers to buy reusable ones instead.
The project is being backed by the Overton Business Association (OBA) and Overton Parish Council. The bags with the winning designs will be stocked in all local shops.
Peter Baker, Overton parish councillor and a leading member of the OBA, told the local media: "We are delighted that a firm date has been set for when Overton is set to become plastic bag-free.
"Apparently, a plastic bag has a life of 12 minutes before being buried in landfill sites where they can take 500 years to decompose. This is hugely wasteful, as well as being harmful to the environment, and Overton is very proud to take a positive stance on such an important issue."
The cotton bags will be produced using water-based inks in Mumbai, by Fairtrade and approved by the WWF. A banner counting down the days until the village becomes plastic bag-free will be set up.
Peter Foster, manager at Overton Bathroom Centre, said: "It's fantastic that Overton is becoming a plastic bag-free zone and we're glad that everyone has got behind it. It sends a great message that this project has received total backing and green issues such as this are so important."