Plastic bag fee: Sales in England fall by 90%

  Plastic bag Copyright copyright
PA Media

Plastic bag sales from the largest supermarkets in England have dropped by 90% since a 5p fee was introduced in 2015, government figures show.

Asda, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, The Co-operative Group, Tesco and Waitrose sold 549 million plastic bags in 201[ads1]8-19, half of the year sold.

Customers now buy an average of 10 bags a year compared to 140 bags in 2014.

The tax was introduced in October 2015 in an attempt to tackle plastic pollution.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said the numbers were "a powerful demonstration that we collectively call time to be a throwaway society."

In England, only retailers with more than 250 employees have to charge customers for the use of plastic bags .

This contrasts with the situation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales where there is a minimum of 5p for all retailers.

The stores are expected to give the money for charitable purposes – and the fee is estimated to have raised £ 169 million since 2015.

In December 2018, the government started a consultation to raise the minimum fee to 10p.

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A plastic bag along a coral reef off the coast of the Red Sea

According to government researchers, the amount of plastic in the seas is set to triple in a decade.

More than 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually worldwide – around eight million of these enter the oceans. [19659005] The plastic breaks down into smaller pieces that can then err in birds and fish for food, which closes the digestive traces.

Every year, 100,000 animals in the sea are killed by plastic.

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