No sooner have I got to grips with the complexities of WordPress in order to create this site than the topic for my first blog leaps off the news channels at me – Tesco has announced it is to end the sale of 5p single use plastic carrier bags!
Tesco has just carried out a ten week trial in three stores across the country and achieved a 25% reduction in the sale of bags. This has encouraged Tesco to roll out the ban across all its stores at the end of the month. Customers are encouraged to take their own shopping bags or to purchase a sturdier ‘bag for life’ for 10p which Tesco will renew when worn out. This policy, incidentally, brings it into line with Aldi who have always had such a scheme.
The bag charge was introduced by the government in October 2015 in order to reduce litter, protect wildlife and reduce the amount going to landfill. The results have been impressive. In the first twelve months it is estimated that the sale of single use bags fell by 85% nationally – 6 billion fewer bags! And the charges levied on those plastic bags still sold were required to be handed over to good causes, particularly environmental good causes, which resulted in a pay out of over £66 million!!
So we have a government initiative which is obviously working for the benefit of the environment – but I believe the ‘single use’ bag issue still needs more work and can be extended.
Firstly, the lead being taken by Aldi and Tesco should now be followed by all other supermarkets. It’s no great effort to go shopping with our own shopping bags – we always used to! A total ban clearly won’t cause any major problems.
And the government should apply the regulations to all retailers. At the moment the scheme only applies to ‘large retailers’ i.e. those employing over 250 employees. This can cause confusion – some shops charge 5p whilst others don’t. Surely British shoppers have now come to terms with the practice, accept it and wouldn’t be concerned if the policy applied in every shop.
- Investigate other retailers’ single bag policies.
- Write, email, blog, use social media to put pressure on other retailers to follow Tesco’s lead.
- Contact MPs to urge extension of regulations to all retailers.