- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Uncategorized
Mike Hedges AM celebrates the carrier bag charge turning 5.
The Welsh Labour Government’s ground-breaking Single Use Carrier Bag charge has marked its fifth anniversary.
Mike said.. ‘It does not seems like 5 years since the 5p charge was introduced! I am pleased that it has been a great success for it means less of the single use bags being used, thrown away and buried in landfill sites. On top of this, a good deal of money has been raised for good causes through the small charge. I would urge everyone to continue to use the bags for life.’
On 1 October 2011 Wales became the first country in the United Kingdom to introduce a minimum charge of 5p on all single use carrier bags. In the intervening five years the policy has resulted in a significant reduction in the use of these types of bags and an increase in support among consumers for the charge. Following this success, other countries across the UK have adopted similar policies. A recent study published by Cardiff University revealed that:
- Of 1,143 shoppers observed leaving four supermarkets in Cardiff only 14% were seen to be carrying out their shopping in just single use bags, compared to 57% using bags for life.
- Only a small percentage of shoppers surveyed in Wales said they now “often or always” buy single use carriers when doing their main food shopping.
- Support for the charge in Wales had increased from 75% to 80% over the period of the study.
The Welsh Government’s own review of the charge, published earlier this year also identified positive environmental benefits from the charge including:
- 66% of those surveyed agreed with the statement ‘The charge has helped to reduce littering in my local authority area’.
- Due to the significant shift in demand away from single use bag varieties to re- usable bag types (plastic or fabric), it is estimated that benefits of between £0.9 million and £1.3 million have been achieved for the period October 2011– January 2015.
The Welsh Labour Government is now looking at how it can build on the success of the charge. New powers in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 will open the way for further developments to enable Wales to take the lead in recycling and re-use across Europe.