Andrew Thornton Owner, Thornton's Budgens of Crouch End Sir; While the policy committees of the big four have been working hard on their target of a 25% reduction in carrier bag usage by the end of next year, Thornton's Budgens of Crouch End has cut its carrier bag use by more than half (55%) in just five months ('Carrier bags at dawn', The Grocer, 24 November, p36). With our Pennies for Plastic scheme, if shoppers don't use a free carrier bag we donate the cost - 1p - towards a local charity appeal. When we first launched the initiative it was hard to change people's behaviour. But our team has worked hard to get the message across. About half of our customers now use their own bags, which disproves the 'public won't accept it' theory. We have already saved more than 220,000 carrier bags and have almost raised enough money to build a stage for one of the local primary schools. While we have 45% more to cut, we are confident enough to stop giving away free carrier bags from March. This is yet another way for us independents to show that we really do care, rather than just being interested in spin and hype. I appeal to fellow independents to follow suit and cut their plastic bag usage ahead of the multiples, or before a ban or more tax is imposed. The supermarkets have made a great deal of noise about this issue, but it is by no means unique to them.