When plans to enact a 5p plastic bag charge in England were announced, the media were quick to predict chaos from longer queues and confused shoppers, bemoaning the fact that such a small fine couldn’t possibly have much of an affect.
In spite of dire forecasts, the ban has helped save a whopping 6 billion plastic bags from being used. That’s just short of one bag for every single human in the world, and it’s a change seen when taking only England into account.
We’d already heard that the amount of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets decreased by a more than healthy 85% just six months after the initiation of the fine, but we’re still stunned by how well the scheme has paid off. Ultimately, the number of plastic bags provided for customers across England’s seven main supermarkets has fallen from 7.6 billion to less than 600 million this year.
To put that in perspective, it means that there are 6 billion fewer bags in danger of heading to landfill or getting out into the eco-system. We’re pleased to hear that the reduction has already been noticed across the country. The Marine Conservation Society just started their annual beach clean, and they noted that old plastic bags, which previously accounted for 2% of beach rubbish, were no longer littering the shores.
And that’s not all, reports also show that money raised from a mere 5p charge have helped provide a staggering £29 million for charities and community groups.
Research conducted by Cardiff University suggests that 9 out of ten people carry their own bags in a bid to avoid the charge. Even better, the study suggested the people from England are now more willing to pay for regulations that aim to reduce waste, with a 5p charge on plastic bottles being greeted favourably.
The plastic bag ban has clearly been a roaring success, radically decreasing usage while also raising much needed funds for vital charities all across England. If you haven’t yet helped out by making the switch from plastic bags to something more friendly to the environment, make sure you check out the selection of options available from many online cotton bag manufacturers or from supermarkets UK-wide.