LYME Regis is well on its way to becoming plastic-bag free, with demand for carrier bags already decreasing in the town.

Environmental group Turn Lyme Green is hoping to declare the town a plastic-bag free zone by March 21 and this week held a meeting with the Lyme Regis Traders' Association to get them on board with their eco-campaign.

Around 60 Lyme traders backed the campaign at the meeting on Monday, when they reported that demand for carrier bags had gone down.

Candida Blaker, of Turn Lyme Green, said: "I was really pleased with how it went and I am really thrilled about the demonstration of support.

"We now have to look to turning principles into action."

The meeting included guest speakers from international companies, a question and answer session and the showing of a short film, demonstrating the devastating effects of plastics.

Although Colin Willis, the chairman of the Traders' Association, thought the turnout from local traders could have been better, he said the meeting was effective.

"I think it pushed things forward and made people realise it is a serious affair," he said.

"I think there is a better understanding, but I think we have to go a little bit further with determining price, and some of them will want to know a little bit more of the difference it will cost them over a year in the bag they choose."

Ms Blaker was pleased to get the traders' views on the scheme and said their contribution has caused Turn Lyme Green to reconsider its approach. "In a way we need to do a bit of a re-think," she said. "Our experts are saying maybe an outright ban on plastic bags isn't quite right.

"The speakers encouraged us to see that Lyme Regis can be different to other campaigns. Rather than setting out just to ban the plastic bag, we can promote responsible packaging, and embrace related issues that are necessary to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.

"We can try to ensure that there are relevant plastics recycling facilities (such as turning thin plastics and bottles into refuse sacks) and appropriate information and infrastructure to enable residents to home compost."

Mr Willis said the next step is to organise for one or two people to become central ordering points.

"Once we have some clue as to the types of bags individual businesses need, we can then order them from the same source," he said. "If we pool our resources with the ordering we are likely to get a better price."

Ms Blaker said they would be offering guidance to traders, involving those in the tourism sector, arranging a series of events around Easter, and encouraging traders to contact TLG with their queries and needs.

You can contact them by posting comments through the door at Pattimore's, commenting via the website, emailing, or dropping in to see Pat Hicks at Threshers (01297 445969).