Have you ever wondered how you'd cope without plastic bags? We get handed so many of them nowadays that many people take them for granted and don't stop to think about the impact they have on the environment.

However, residents on the Isle of Man recently got a taste of what life would be like without any plastic bags after giving them up for Lent as part of a campaign by Zero Waste Mann.

While most people give up chocolate, alcohol or other 'treat' foods and drinks for Lent, Zero Waste Mann wanted to use the 40 day period to encourage people to rethink their plastic bag habits and show retailers that there are alternatives to handing out disposable bag after disposable bag.

“By taking a grassroots approach,” a spokesperson from the group told IsleofMan.com: “We're hopefully putting out the message that as individuals, we can all do something about waste without waiting for the government to tell us.

“Giving up plastic bags may seem like a small thing but if everybody on the Island just avoids one plastic bag per week, that adds up to a large number.”

In order to encourage people to take part in the scheme, members of the group were on hand to give people advice and guidance about the alternatives which could be used and also handed out free eco-friendly cotton bags so that people had something to use as an alternative.

The campaign was inspired by some startling statistics about plastic bag use, with data showing that EU consumers work their way through 800,000 tonnes of disposable carriers annually, the vast majority of which will end up in landfill sites.

Lent may be over but that is no reason why people can't follow in the Isle of Man residents' footsteps – just arm yourself with an eco-friendly bag next time you head out to the shops.

Large Number of Island Residents take up Zero Waste Mann's Lent Challenge, Isleofman.com