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Price of Single-Use Plastic Bags in England to Increase to 10p


The government will be stepping up measures to reduce the use of disposable plastics.

From April 2021, single-use plastic carrier bags in England will cost 10p, up from 5p, and smaller shops will also no longer be exempt.

Billions fewer thin-gauge plastic shopping bags have been used since the charge was introduced in October 2015.

Recent data shows that there has been a 95% drop in plastic bag usage in England’s major supermarkets since the 5p levy was introduced.

George Eustace, the environment secretary, said: “We have all seen the devastating impact plastic bags have on the oceans and on precious marine wildlife, which is why we are taking bold and ambitious action to tackle this issue head-on.

“The UK is already a world leader in this global effort, and our carrier bag charge has been hugely successful in taking billions of harmful plastic bags out of circulation. But we want to go further by extending this to all retailers so we can continue to cut unnecessary waste.”

The number of bags being given out by the seven biggest supermarkets increased by 200m in 2014. Subsequently, the 5p charge was introduced to help change consumer behaviour in England, so that litter would be reduced and wildlife protected.

In 2014, consumers were getting through over 7bn plastic bags annually, totalling some 61,000 tonnes of plastic.

However, a new problem has emerged, with many consumers using the thicker ‘bags for life’ just once before disposing of them.

Political campaigner at Greenpeace, Sam Chetan-Welsh, said: “By raising the price of plastic bags again, the government is taking a small step in the right direction, but by now they should be taking great strides. Reinstating the previous price of carrier bags but not taking action on bags for life is only looking at one part of the problem.

“The government should be setting legally binding targets now for retailers to reduce single-use plastics by 50% by 2025. And it should be working to make sure the big-brand plastic producers take responsibility for disposing of their waste. If they’re increasing costs for shoppers, ministers really have no excuse not to increase the costs for the companies that are responsible for the escalating volumes of single-use plastic packaging in the first place.”

Morrisons has recently launched a trial in eight of its stores in which plastic ‘bags for life’ have been replaced by sturdy paper bags. The supermarket chain is looking to ditch plastic bags across its 494 stores, saving 3510 tonnies of plastic annually.

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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