Since the 2015 introduction of the £0.05p charge in England, sales of plastic bags in the seven biggest retail chains have fallen by 90%
The last year alone saw 490 million less single single-use plastic bags sold in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, M&S, Waitrose and Co-op
The charge means a person on average now only buys 10 bags a year from main supermarkets, in comparison with 140 bags in 2014 - the year before the charge was implemented.
Environmental Secretary Theresa Villiers welcomed the data, 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.”
On top of this, the total figure reported by all large retailers for single-use plastic bag sales in 2018/2019 fell by 37% compared with the previous year.
Following the launch of this successful UK initiative, to tackle plastic waste the government also approved a ban on microbeads in January 2018, as well as recently banning plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, reaching full effect in April 2020.
The UK is also soon to introduce a 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.