Plastic bag charges will be doubled from 5p to 10p, hopefully by January 2020, in the UK to help further reduce the use of single-use plastics.
One of the top priorities for many people in developed countries right now is cutting down on how much we rely on single-use plastics. Bags, straws, food and drink packaging, it is also being targeted by governments and corporations. After all, it is entities that large that need to instigate the change in order for anything to be significant.
Various countries have been introducing laws to reduce the volume of single-use plastics, and companies that use a lot of plastic have made a variety of pledges to cut down on the amount that they use. One of the biggest steps taken was by the UK government back in 2015. It made it mandatory for retailers of a certain size to charge 5p (6¢) for plastic, single-use carrier bags.
Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has now revealed the next stage in that plan, as reported by Sky News. Gove recently laid out plans that will see businesses have to charge at least 10p for plastic bags. The new laws will also incorporate all companies and stores that sell plastic bags. Small businesses with few employees are currently exempt from the 5p charges.
This latest announcement comes on the back of efforts to rid all schools of single-use plastics by the end of 2022. There is really no arguing with the influence the 5p charge has had since its inception in 2015. In 2014, 7.6 billion plastic bags were handed out in the UK by the country's seven top supermarkets alone. That's a staggering average of 140 per person.
In comparison, figures show that only 2 billion plastic bags were sold during the last financial year. Not just in those seven supermarket chains, but across all stores enforcing the 5p charge. If and when the charge is doubled and made mandatory for all traders in the UK, it's almost inevitable that single-use plastics will become even more sparse in the UK. Positive steps being taken by the British government on this front.