6 Billion Fewer Plastic Bags Given Out

Surfers Against Sewage is celebrating early Government data revealing that the 5p charge has meant approximately six billion fewer single-use plastic bags have been given out to shoppers in England since it’s introduction just last October. This is a huge win for the environment! 

A new poll also shows increased public support for bag charge and increased popular demand for the funds generated to go to anti-litter initiatives.

The massive reduction in the use of carrier bags in England has been complemented by a notable increase in public support for the charge, according to the Break the Bag Habit coalition (BTBH) of anti-litter charities.

New government statistics show that 6 billion fewer single-use plastic carrier bags have been given out in English supermarkets since the 5p bag charge was introduced last October. The recently-conducted ICM poll, meanwhile, found that 70% of English respondents now find it reasonable to charge 5p for all carrier bags – an 8% increase in support in the eight months after the English charge came into force. This increase was particularly marked amongst younger people, where support jumped 10%.

Since the English charge came into force, there has been some debate about how the funds raised will be used. Nearly three quarters of respondents to the ICM survey (74%) supported the idea of using the money specifically for a national anti-litter programme. This is a cause supported by BTBH.

The BTBH coalition started campaigning in 2012 for a bag charge scheme that would reduce litter and bag usage across England. Other home nations have had universal bag charges or taxes since 2011; carrier bag usage in Northern Ireland dropped 81% between 2010 and 2014.