Break the Bag Habit
01 August 2012
Keep Britain Tidy has joined forces with three other leading environmental charities to call for a charge on single-use bags in England, following the success of such levies in Wales and Ireland.
Over the past two years, the number of carrier bags used in England has increased despite repeated Government calls for retailers to reduce the numbers they give out.
Last year businesses in the UK issued plastic bags at a rate of 254 a second. A total of eight billion ‘thin-gauge’ plastic bags were issued during 2011 - a 5.4 per cent increase on the 7.6 billion bags issued in 2010. The bulk of this increase came from England, the only home nation not to have a single-use bag charge in place or to be actively seeking to implement one.
After the first year of a bag charge scheme in Wales, charging 5p per bag, the number of single-use bags issued has fallen by between 70 and 96 per cent, as estimated by retailers. Public support for the Welsh bag charge has grown to 70 per cent. When Ireland introduced a plastic bag charge in 2002, plastic bag use fell by a massive 90 per cent. Before the Irish charge plastic bags made up five per cent of visible litter, afterwards it dropped to just 0.32 per cent.
This shows that a bag charge scheme works and would help cut the amount of litter and waste on our streets, in our countryside and on our coastlines. The Break the Bag Habit campaign is calling for any proceeds from the bag charge to be used to fund environmental and recycling schemes.
Support us today - together we can Break the Bag Habit!