It’s great news to hear that the sale of plastic carrier bags in England’s major supermarkets have dropped by 90% since the 5p charge was introduced.
The plastic bag charge came into effect in England on 5 October 2015, with all supermarkets and large stores legally required to charge a minimum of 5p for single-use plastic bags in store.
According to figures the average English shopper will now use just 10 bags a year, compared to 140 before the charge came in.
However, it was also stated that England is still lagging behind Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This is because in England the fee only applies to shops with more than 250 employees, rather than all retailers.
What can be done to cut down on plastic use?
Whilst it may seem a bit cliché to use the phrase “reduce, reuse, and recycle”, it really is as simple as that.
Whilst retailers need to be offering alternative packaging options, it’s also down to us to change our habits so that less plastic is needed so that less is being produced.
Take a look at some of the ways you can reduce your plastic use:
Take your own containers to supermarkets
Many big supermarkets will now allow you to take your own containers to fish and meat counters so that you can bypass packaging on the items on shelves.
Other supermarkets, namely Morrisons, have changed their stores so that customers can take in tubs for other items such as cereals, nuts, fruit and veg, and many more. This is a huge step to reducing the amount of plastic that we are using in households.
Swap to eco bags
Whilst reusable bags such as those made from jute and cotton still require a lot of energy to produce in factories, they have a much better lifespan than plastic options.
They are also much more durable than plastic bags, making them perfect for shopping trips and transporting items from place to place. Paper bags are compostable which makes them an ideal choice for an eco bag option.
Recycle products you can’t put in your home recycling bin
When recycling at home there are some things, such as crisp packets or chocolate bar wrappers, that local authorities won’t accept in their recycling boxes and which may end up in the waste bin instead.
There are now ways that you can recycle these items. Take a look at websites such as TerraCycle, who will be able to point you in the direction of local recycling boxes for items you can’t put in the boxes provided by your local authority.