Welsh carrier bag charge results in huge drop in usage

Since the plastic bag charge was first introduced in October of 2011 in Wales, carrier bag use has dropped by as much as 96% within some retail sectors. It has also been found that 70% of Wales people approve of the plastic bag charge now.

John Griffiths, the Welsh environment minister, stated that from their year on year intro of the five pence bag charge it is clear that the tax has really helped to change the way that people shop. He added that the experience in Wales proves that if you want to reduce the amount of carrier bags that are used adding a charge is a great way to approach the matter.

Even though they initially were not happy, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Asda have all incorporated the levy into their stores in Wales and have been met with success. Griffiths added that there is no reason why the charge would not be as useful in other UK parts.

In June of last year Richard Benyon the UK environment minister promised that the government would decide if they would institute a carrier bag charge by the close of 2012. According to a pill that was run last month, most shoppers supported the carrier bag tax with about 75% stating that they would reduce their use of plastic bags if a five pence charge was placed on them.

Northern Ireland is scheduled to place a five pence charge on their bags in 2013 and Scotland is considering a charge as well. Ireland has had the plastic bag tax since 2002. The Welsh government figures suggest that UK shoppers most likely go through as much as sixty bags every month. All of the money that is collected from the carrier bag tax goes to charities.