Mail campaign to clamp down on pollution has led to plastic bag production being cut by 63 per cent since tax was introduced at checkout
- Volume of bags made in UK has plunged by 63 per cent since the 5p charge
- It comes after the Mail spent years calling for restrictions on plastic bag use
- Campaigners said the fall in production shows Britain is leading the way
Published: 20:02 EDT, 1 July 2019 | Updated: 20:03 EDT, 1 July 2019
Plastic bag production has more than halved since a tax was introduced at the checkout following a Daily Mail campaign.
The volume of bags made in this country has plunged by 63 per cent since the 5p charge was brought in four years ago.
It comes after the Mail spent years calling for restrictions on plastic bag use, as evidence mounted over the damage they cause to the natural world in Britain and beyond.
Sainsbury’s said it would ditch plastic bags for customers selecting loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items
Campaigners said the fall in production shows Britain is leading the way with a crackdown on the scourge of plastic.
In total, 203,841 tons of plastic bags were produced with a value of £350.1million in 2015 according to the Office for National Statistics. By last year, the amount produced had fallen to only 75,288 tons with a value of £184.9million.
Ministers are now considering an increase of the tax from 5p to 10p per bag.
The fall suggests families are already turning away from single-use bags to longer-lasting alternatives or more environmentally friendly paper versions.
And retailers are now ditching plastic bags. Boots last week said it will stop using plastic bags, in a move which will take 40million a year out of circulation.
Customers can buy a small, medium or large paper carrier bag for 5p, 7p, or 10p and all profits will be donated to the firm’s charity partner Bioreports Children in Need.
The new bags are made in the UK from recycled brown paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and printed with water-based inks so that they can be easily recycled along with other paper waste at home. The change has already been introduced at 53 stores, and will be extended to all the company’s 2,485 outlets by early next year.
And last month, Sainsbury’s said it would ditch plastic bags for customers selecting loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items.
Shoppers will be offered paper bags instead.
Labour MP Mary Creagh, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: ‘This fall is good news and shows that the 5p charge made a real difference.
‘But our consumption of plastic bags is still higher than ten years ago. An ambitious switch to fully sustainable, reusable materials is required.’
Laura Foster, of the Marine Conservation Society, said: ‘We are delighted to see a reduction in plastic bag production which is indicative of consumers moving to more sustainable alternatives — great news for our beaches, oceans and wildlife.’
And Paula Chin, of the World Wildlife Fund, said: ‘Fewer single-use plastic bags can only be good news in the fight against the plastic pollution, but there is still more to do if we want to stop our throwaway culture choking the natural world.