Sales of plastic bags at the seven biggest retail chains in England have fallen by 90% since the nation’s 5-pence charge was introduced in 2015.
Just in the last year, Asda, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative Group, Tesco, and Waitrose sold 490 million fewer single-use plastic bags than over the previous year.
The data also reveals how 5p plastic bag sales have contributed around £169 million ($207 million) toward charities and other good causes since the charge was introduced, with more than £22 million ($27 million) raised in 2018/19 alone.
The average person in England now buys just 10 bags a year from the main supermarket retailers, compared with 140 bags in 2014 before the charge was introduced.
Environmental Secretary Theresa Villiers welcome the recently-published data by saying: “Our comprehensive action to slash plastic waste and leave our environment in a better state continues to deliver results, with our 5p charge reducing plastic bag sales by 90% in the big supermarkets.
“No one wants to see the devastating impact plastic waste is having on our precious wildlife. Today’s figures are a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society.”
The total for single-use plastic bag sales reported by all large retailers in 2018/2019 fell 37% compared with the previous year.
This is not the only initiative launched by the UK to tackle plastic waste: the government also approved a world-leading ban on microbeads in January 2018; and they only recently confirmed a ban on the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds which will go into full effect in April 2020.
Th United Kingdom is also set to introduce a new world-leading tax on any plastic packaging that does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content from April 2022, subject to consultation, to encourage greater use of recycled plastic to tackle the problem of plastic waste and protect our environment.
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