England says no to plastic bags


It was with great joy that I heard yesterday that a 5p charge on plastic bags is to come into force in England from 2015. It is a ruling long overdue I feel. Ironically I have just come out of Wales which is a part of the United Kingdom that has had the plastic bag charge since 1st October 2011. Consequently usage has been reduced by 75% in the region. Quite impressive. There have inevitably been complaints but when one thinks about it, it isn’t another tax at all but simply a way of ensuring we do not become overly lazy. It is perfectly easy for us all to bring extra bags with us when we do our shopping. They can be stored in the back of the car and we can easily remind ourselves to remember bags before we leave. Further, even if we do have to purchase bags we are safe in the knowledge that the money will go towards good causes.

Is 5p enough? Should it be 10p? I would suggest that 5p will be enough to force a change in attitude and practice without making things too expensive for those consumers who want to continue purchasing bags. This ruling is not going to change the world but it will go far in helping our environment in a small way. The number of bags having to be cleaned up from our beaches, parks, fields and watercourses will be (I predict) dramatically reduced and it will go a small way to reducing land-fill rates.

On a side note I’d like to thank everyone who came to Anglesey with me this week to work with the North Wales Wildlife Trust. It was a lot of fun and I feel that we achieved a lot.

2 thoughts on “England says no to plastic bags

  1. I don’t have a problem with the carrier bag charge here in Wales, but I do wonder how much difference it really and truly is making. At home and at work, we always re-used “free” carrier bags (at the end of their life, having being used in a multitude of ways first) as bin liners. We now buy lots and lots more bin liners and they truly are single use only, so I don’t really know that there is a net benefit.

    And meantime, the new scourge of the countryside is the plastic bags full of dog poop that weird people leave all over the place as though somehow putting a poop in a plastic bag and then dumping it on a path or hanging it in a tree or on a fence is a “good” thing. Funny old world.

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