Climate Action has announced that 6 billion plastic bags have been saved since the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced. It says that the number of plastic bags given to customers in England’s seven main supermarkets has fallen from 7.6 billion in 2014 to less than 600 million this year so far. Despite this, more than £29 million has been raised by the 5p levy for charities and community groups.
Climate Action says than 9 out of ten people often or always carry their own bags, compared to seven out of 10 before the plastic bag charge which does not sound like a huge change.
David Powell of the New Economics Foundation said:
“By far the most interesting thing about the plastic bag charge is just how successful an incredibly small charge can be. … Introduce the right charge in the right way and people respond to it, particularly if there’s such an obvious environmental problem. The government will have to conclude, how can we use this principle for other things?”
So, if all this is such a success – and the public has been educated – why are supermarkets still full of plastic packaging of all sorts? Time for the supermarkets to educate themselves, perhaps.