Plastic bag charge plummets sale in England by 90%

According to a new government data, the sale of plastic bags in England’s supermarket has halved since the last year. As sources suggest, Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op have sold 549 million single-use plastic bags in 2018-19, a number which was down from one billion in the previous year.

The result for the cutback was attributed to the introduction of 5p charge since 2015. Since then the number of plastic use was brought down by 90%. The report suggests, customers now buy 10 bags per year on an average, in contrast to 140 bags in 2014.

According to a statement released by the Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers based on the new development, she said the number was, “a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society.”

Although the new law of the charge for the bag was well-known, its downward effect especially accelerated since the past year. The growing awareness of plastic pollution and also the popularity of the TV series Blue Planet II helped to highlight the adversity of plastic pollution in the world’s ocean. The TV show was also recorded to be one of the most watched of 2017.

Based on the 2015 levy in England, retailers with more than 250 employees charged customers with the use of plastic bags, a situation which was in contrast with that of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the 5p charge is applicable for all retailers.

Furthermore, the shops are expected to donate the money to charitable causes and the charge hence is estimated to be around £169 million since 2015. The government of England introduced a consultation on increasing the minimum charge to 10p since December 2018.

Government scientists have also drawn attention to the escalation of plastic in the seas which is bound to increase threefold within a decade. 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced across the world annually, out of which eight million enters the oceans.

The plastic is then broken down to smaller pieces which is mistaken by birds and fish for food, thus blocking their digestive tracks. As an alarming aftermath, about 100,000 sea animals are killed by plastic every year.