The Prime Minister will introduce legislation next month to impose a charge of 5p or even more on all giveaway bags next year if they fail to comply. Yesterday, the trade body which represents 33,000 convenience stores said they are ready to accept a plastic bag tax in a bid to reduce the number handed out.
Supermarket Tesco used 3bn plastic bags last year. It does not charge for them, instead offering bonuses such as extra clubcard points if they re-use bags. A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said the supermarket had a policy of encouraging its customers to "reduce, reuse and recycle". She also said that since April 2007 there had been a 10% reduction in the number of free plastic bags given out, which is the equivalent of 85m bags. A spokesman for Asda said it was on target to reduce the environmental impact of its carrier bags by 25% by the end of 2008.
"I am convinced we need to act - and the time to act is now. I have already made clear that over time, we should aim to eliminate the single-use plastic bag altogether."
A voluntary agreement brokered by the Government to reduce the use of plastic bags by 25 per cent is behind target. Official figures show the number of bags issued by retailers has fallen by only 7.4 per cent in a year. The written feature in today's Daily Mail follows on from yesterday's announcement by Marks & Spencer to introduce a five pence per bag charge nationwide after trials in Northern Ireland and Southwest England. The trial saw a reduction in plastic bag use by 70% and raised substantial funds for environmental charity Groundworks Northern Ireland.
"The company wanted to make it easy for our customers to do their bit to help the environment. On top of this, our customers will be raising valuable funds to go to our partner charity, Groundwork, to invest in much-needed green spaces in our neighbourhoods".
Sir Stuart Rose, Chief Executive, Marks & Spencer
The plastic bag is a blight on our environment, to find out more reasons on why plastic and paper bags damage our environment check out Paper or Plastic?