Six billion fewer plastic bags taken home by shoppers in England

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Plastiktüten (Foto: © Erwin Lorenzen/ http://www.pixelio.de)

London, UK – Shoppers are set to take home around six billion fewer single-use plastic bags this year following the introduction of the 5p charge, early data published today indicates. The charge has also resulted in donations of more than £29 million from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey balanced: „Taking six billion plastic bags out of circulation is fantastic news for all of us – it will mean our precious marine life is safer, our communities are cleaner and future generations won’t be saddled with mountains of plastic sat taking hundreds of years to breakdown in landfill sites. The 5p charge has clearly been a huge success – not only for our environment but for good causes across the country that have benefitted from an impressive £29 million raised.“

Over seven billion carrier bags were issued by seven main retailers in 2014, falling to just over half a billion in the first six months of the 5p charge for single use carrier bags introduced in October 2015.

Dr Sue Kinsey, Technical Specialist, Waste at the Marine Conservation Society underlined: „We are delighted to see that the bag charge in England is showing positive results. This is a significant reduction that will benefit the environment as a whole, and our sea life in particular. There is always more that we can do and we encourage everyone to join in on our Great British Beach Clean this September to help keep our coastlines clean.“

The data has been published, along with guidance for the plastic bag charge.

Source: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)