Climate Action

Plastic bag sales down 90% in England

New data by the Government has revealed that in England, plastic bag sales are down 90 per cent.

  • 02 August 2019
  • Rachel Cooper

New data by the Government has revealed that in England, plastic bag sales are down 90 per cent.

Sales of plastic bags by seven of the UK’s biggest retailers have decreased by 90 per cent since the 5p charge was introduced in 2015, new statistics by DEFRA have revealed.

The total single-use carrier bag sales reported by all large retailers in 2018/2019 fell 37% to 1.11 billion compared with the previous year.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Our comprehensive action to slash plastic waste and leave our environment in a better state continues to deliver results, with our 5p charge reducing plastic bag sales by 90% in the big supermarkets.”

“No one wants to see the devastating impact plastic waste is having on our precious wildlife. Today’s figures are a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society.”

The average person in England now buys just 10 bags a year from the main supermarket retailers, compared with 140 bags in 2014 before the charge was introduced.

The Government also revealed that the money raised by the 5p fee has gone towards donations for charities, raising over £169 million for worthy causes.

However, despite the decline in sales, plastic pollution in the UK is still a growing concern, with Government scientists believing that plastic in the sea is set to treble in a decade unless marine litter is tackled.

This is creating damaging consequences, with over 100,000 sea mammals dying every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

With the UK committing to be net zero by 2050, environmentalists are now calling for stronger action to ensure that there is a notable reduction in plastic consumption.