In 2014, more than 7 billion plastic bags were distributed in UK stores, 40 bags per household. In the first six months after the measure, they have fallen to 640 million in England. This is an impressive drop of 85%. People have started using reusable bags when shopping.
This figure follows the trend seen in the rest of the UK, with the single-use bag falling 71% in Northern Ireland, 76% in Wales and 80% in Scotland.
Close to £ 30 million has been raised, which has been donated to different causes such as charity, environmental causes and community groups. The success with the large supermarket chains means that the measure will now be extended to small companies, as has already been done in Scotland and Wales.
The measure is expected to help the environment by reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills, as well as the number of bags that end up in the sea. Some 8 million tons of plastic are believed to end up in the oceans each year. A recent study found plastic bags from the UK floating in Arctic waters.
“It will mean that our precious marine life is safer, our communities are cleaner and future generations will not find mountains of plastic taking hundreds of years to decompose in landfills,” said Environment Minister Therese Coffey.