Concerned about protecting the environment, Boris Johnson’s government in the United Kingdom (UK) announced on Thursday that buyers have to pay more if they need a plastic bag to transport their items: the current price of 5 pence (Dh0.25) per bag will double to 10 pence (Dh0.50) from May 21.
The 5 pence charge for single-use carrier bags was introduced in 2015 and has since seen a 95% reduction in plastic bag sales in major supermarkets. The fee will be extended to all businesses in England to help drive bag sales down further.
Once the 5 pence fee became mandatory, the average person in England now only buys four single-use bags per year in major supermarkets, up from 140 in 2014. By extending the fee to all retailers, we are ‘expect the use of single-use carrier bags to decrease by up to 80%.
The doubling of the price comes as new research reveals the levy is largely supported by the public – 95% of people in England so far recognize the huge benefits to the environment. Since the introduction of the tax, retailers have donated over 150 million pounds (m) (766.69 million dirhams) to good causes in the fields of charity, volunteering, the environment and of health.
UK Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The introduction of the 5 pence fee has been a phenomenal success, lowering sales of harmful plastic bags in supermarkets by 95%. We know that we must go further to protect our natural environment and our oceans, which is why we are now extending this levy to all companies ”.
She added: “Over the next two weeks, I urge all retailers of all sizes to make sure they are ready for the changes, as we work together to rebuild greener and strengthen our leading action. to fight against the plague of plastic waste. “
A tax on plastic packaging is to be introduced from April 2022 for products that do not have at least 30 percent recycled content.
Sunjiv Shah, Uber Eats UK, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to tackle plastic waste and support good causes. Everyone can help protect the environment by reducing the use of single-use plastic bags ”.
Officials said this development will help the UK to rebuild itself better and greener after the Covid-19 pandemic. In its war on plastic pollution, the UK has banned microbeads in rinse-out personal care products and banned the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton swabs.