New figures have revealed that plastic carrier bag sales have slashed by more than 95 per cent since the 5p charge was introduced.
According to new Government data, the drop has occurred in England’s main supermarkets since the charge was introduced in 2015. In addition, there has been a 59 per cent drop in plastic carrier bag sales in the last year, with 226m bags being sold at the main supermarkets, some 322m fewer than in 2018/19. This has resulted in charities receiving nearly £180m since 2015.
The average person in England now buys just four bags a year from the main supermarket retailers, compared with 10 last year and 140 in 2014. Environment Secretary, George Eustice, commented: “It is so encouraging to see in such a short space of time the huge difference our plastic carrier bag charge has had in reducing the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives. We have all seen first-hand the devastating impact that plastic bags have on the environment, littering our beautiful countryside and threatening the world’s marine life. I am committed to driving this progress further and I hope this continues to inspire similar action across the globe.”
The 5p charge currently applies to all retailers employing over 250 people, and Government has consulted on extending this to all businesses, as well as increasing the minimum charge to 10p. The formal response to this consultation will be published in due course.