8 Oct 2015

Single Use Plastic Bags

I don't get the plastic bag initiative which is supposed to help the environment by reducing litter which can be harmful to wildlife both on land and at sea, and cutting down on the use of plastic which comes from oil.

From Monday 5th October 2015 in England there is a 5p charge for single use plastic bags. But this only applies to supermarkets and large retailers with 250 or more employees. Smaller shops are exempt. So why does the charge not apply to all shops? Surely the aim should be to stop all single use plastic bags and to get people into the habit of taking durable shopping bags with them. The good old mantra of re-use first, reduce, recycle.

The Government hopes that the extra money the shops receive will be put to good causes. Many supermarkets have announced that charities will benefit. Why not follow the Northern Ireland route - in 2013 a 5p levy was introduced and the retailers pay the net proceeds of the levy to the Department of Environment at Stormont? This year 21 environmental groups that had their budgets slashed as part of government cutbacks received a share of a £1.25m fund raised by plastic bag charges. It makes sense that any money raised is used to improve the environment. Why is this not happening in England?

Also, why does the charge not cover any disposable bag as in other countries?  Paper bags are not necessarily made from sustainable sources.

Local Authorities have to enforce this regulation. I wonder how many cash-starved local councils will do this?

England is lagging behind other countries in this initiative. In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country in the world to ban thinner plastic bags altogether, after they were found to have choked local drainage systems during floods.

See the recent article on the BBC website and the older one on Northern Ireland.
See the Government Guidelines.

1 comment:

Philip Booth said...

Great blog! Here was my outrageously long blog from 2010 on going plastic bag free: http://ruscombegreen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/should-stroud-go-plastic-bag-free.html