A report by the Environmental Audit Committee has stated that England’s proposed bag levy should include biodegradable bags, or risk “damaging the UK plastics recycling industry”
Over 8 billion plastic carrier bags are used each year in England, far more than necessary. According to the report, the Government should follow the approach of the 5p charge for carrier bags in Wales, which has successfully reduced bag use by over 75%. Reducing bag use has significant environmental benefits in terms of lower carbon emissions, resource use and litter.
The charge scheme that the Government is proposing in England, with additional exemptions for small retailers and paper and biodegradable bags, would be too complex, unnecessarily confusing for shoppers, and less effective than the Welsh scheme. The proposed 5p charge should apply to all bag types and all retailers.
There is evidence that charging for carrier bags leads to fewer bags being discarded as litter. The Government should focus on making the scheme simple and coherent with other policies to reinforce other positive environmental behaviours. It should take steps to set a minimum price for ‘bags for life’ at a level which incentivises their reuse.
To find out more, please follow the link: Eleventh Report. Environmental Audit Comitee.