England has experienced a dramatic decline in single-use plastic bag sales since the imposition of 5 cent tax on every bag in department stores and supermarkets.
In England, the use of plastic shopping bags has declined by 95% in the main supermarkets. According to the data recorded by the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the use of plastic bags increased in the year 2014, as consumers utilized an average of 140 annually, which amounts to 61,000 metric tons of plastic. After taking measures to curb the increase by charging 5 cents, the use of plastic bags has decreased.
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Morrisons, Asda, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, and the Co-operative Group who collectively distributed two-fifth of all plastic bags, have sold fewer bags than over a period of 2018-19.
“It is encouraging to see in such a short space of time the huge difference our plastic carrier bag charge has had in reducing the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives. We have all seen firsthand the devastating impact that plastic bags have on the environment, littering our beautiful countryside, and threatening the world’s marine life. I am committed to driving this progress further and I hope this continues to inspire similar action across the globe.”MP George Eustice (the secretary of DEFRA)
Asides consumers disposing of plastic bags, there are so many problems that need to be addressed; these bags should be prevented from ending up in the oceans or landfills. The demand and supply forces also play a significant role in this.
The 5 cent tax is also applicable to both unsold and unused plastic bags, which makes retailers become careful of the amount of plastic bags they order, this results in less waste and less production in the demand and supply side respectively.
On the other hand, an innovative project to provide consumers with “a bag for life”, vows to be the last bag you purchase, sales have drastically increased to 1.5 billion in 2018.
The “bag for life” which is produced by smartbag.uk is a durable and unique bag. This bag is very ideal for heavy groceries and it can be mailed back for replacement and recycling if it is damaged.
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