Plastic Bag Use Plummets In England

Webster

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BBC News: plastic Bag Use Plummets In England

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Plastic bag use has plummeted in England since the introduction of a 5p charge last year, the government says.

In the six months after the levy was brought in last October, 640 million plastic bags were used in seven major supermarkets in England, it says. In 2014, the waste reduction charity Wrap estimated the same supermarkets had used 7.64 billion bags.

The government says if the trend continues over the year, six billion fewer bags will be used. It follows the pattern seen in the rest of the UK since the introduction of charges for bags.

Wales introduced a levy in 2011, followed by Northern Ireland in 2013 and Scotland in 2014. They saw reductions in bag use of 76%, 71% and 80%, respectively, in the first year after the fee was established.

The charge was introduced in England on 5 October 2015, with all retailers with more than 250 full-time employees required to charge a minimum of 5p to customers for single-use, plastic carrier bags.

'Fantastic news'
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is now collating data on their use. Environment Minister Therese Coffey said the reduction in the number of bags being used was "fantastic news".

"It will mean our precious marine life is safer, our communities are cleaner and future generations won't be saddled with mountains of plastic taking hundreds of years to break down in landfill sites."

This reduction in plastic could benefit the environment, especially the oceans. A report published in the journal Science in 2015 estimated that about 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in global waters each year.

Dr Sue Kinsey, from the UK's Marine Conservation Society, said: "Every year we survey our beaches, and last year we found over 5,000 bags over one weekend."

She said that birds and marine mammals ate plastic, and bags were also breaking down into smaller pieces and being consumed by tiny marine organisms.

"We're hoping with the charges in place now in all parts of the UK, we'll see a decrease in the number of bags washing up on our shores."

However she said that England could do more to further reduce plastic pollution.

'Administrative burden'
She said she wanted to see the exemption for small businesses on charging the levy removed. "There's no exemption in Scotland and Wales for instance," she told BBC News.

"If that exemption was removed, we'd see even more plastic bags removed from the environment, which has only got to be good news."

The government said that extending the 5p charge would be too much of an administrative burden for smaller businesses.
 

APS

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Wife and I have a set of Bags which we purchased from Iceland ages ago.
We use them in every shop/supermarket we go to.Also have a carrier bag full of carrier bags which we've collected over the years.they come in useful sometimes.Have never paid 5p for a bag.
 

beowulf

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i think its a good thing......i was sceptical when it happened but im glad it did
 
D

DaveM

We have been paying for these bags for years now and I have not really noticed any decrease in their use
 

beowulf

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and the UK wasnt the first.........

In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country in the world to ban thinner plastic bags altogether, after they were found to have choked local drainage systems during floods.

Other countries including South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, China, and Italy followed suit.

More recently Mexico City and the US state of California imposed bans.
 
R

Rinko

I still buy bags. I typically don't have pockets, and when I'm going out I only carry a small handbag. Besides, 5p isn't exactly going to break my bank account. Not the way some people whine about it. The amount of 'it's a travesty!' or 'it's political correctness gone mad!' I hear at work makes me long for the chance to just pop one over their head and tighten it.
 
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DaveM

We have a huge problem with plastic bags and pollution our side but even charging for them has not made much of an impact on this.

Plastic_bag_litter_in_Crocodile_river,_Pelindaba.jpg


plastic-bags.jpg

RRR-KenyaTrashPile.jpg
 

APS

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Exactly,some people just don't seen to grasp how big the problem is.
 
D

DaveM

The sad thing is that it is such a huge problem our side it has just been accepted as normal and no one really takes note of it :(
 
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