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Carrier bag charge sees usage plummet by 97%

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There was widespread coverage over the weekend including in the Telegraph, Times, i, Mail, Express, Western Daily Press, Yorkshire Post and Manchester Evening News, of our latest annual figures on single-use plastic bag usage in England.

The 5p charge was introduced in supermarkets in 2015 and since then usage at the main retailers has dropped by a staggering 97%. Meanwhile, over £200 million has been voluntarily donated by retailers to good causes in that time.

As a result of the charge, the average person in England now buys around three single-use carrier bags a year from the main supermarkets, compared with around 140 in 2014.

The charge was last year increased to 10p and extended to all businesses. This has helped further bring the number of bags used down by over 20% from 627 million in 2019/20 to 496 million in 2021/22.

Environment Minister Steve Double said:

Our plastic bag charge has ended the sale of billons of single-use bags, protecting our landscapes and ensuring millions of pounds is redistributed to worthy causes. There is much more to do to tackle the problem of plastic waste.

“That is why we are building on our single-use plastic bans and introducing the deposit return scheme for bottles to fight back against littering and drive up recycling rates.

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  1. Comment by John Galvin posted on

    this decrease is at main retailers who are subject to the tax. However, what is the overall reduction in plastic bag use including other outlets?