400 Million More Plastic Bags Distributed in UK Last Year

A startling new figure reported by the Independent indicates that shoppers in the United Kingdom have used a shocking 7. 96 billion single use bags last year, marking an increase of 400 million bags used in total. The article notes that plastic bag usage has increased all across the UK with the exception of Wales and Scotland. Wales, which is subject to a 5p bag tax, has seen a drop in usage of about 22 percent, while Scotland has, despite having no ban at present, dropped usage by a much smaller 0.3 percent. Discussion is currently underway as to the feasibility of introducing a bag tax in Scotland. Martin Hickman of the Independent writes that:

The number of plastic bags in the UK has now increased for two years in a row, following a 4 per cent jump – the first rise in five years - to 7.56 billion in 2010.

However since 2006, when publicity highlighted the damage done by discarded bags to the countryside and seas, the annual number given out by supermarkets has fallen by 35 per cent. Over the same period supermarkets have thinner bags, halving the amount of virgin polymer used in the manufacture of all carrier bags including re-usable ‘bags for life’.

The British Retail Consortium has stated that in order to reduce the number of plastic bags used, changes in shopping patterns must be instigated to ensure success. They have detailed their ideas more comprehensively in the original article, which can be found on the Independent here.

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