It was the Government’s way of cutting down on the 7.6 billion one-use bags English shoppers use each year.
As a way of sharply reducing rubbish it’s been highly successful. In Wales a similar surcharge resulted in a 71 per cent cut in plastic bag use – in Scotland 80 per cent. In Ireland an even steeper surcharge led to a 90 per cent reduction.
Meanwhile down here in 100 per cent pure New Zealand we discard 1.6 billion plastic bags a year – yet the Government is happy to stand aside and leave it to the industry to do the right thing.
Actually it’s worse than that.
Instead of trying to alter behaviour by introducing a levy on end-users or alternatively insisting that the polluting industries take responsibility for their own mess –
– the Government has dipped into its own pocket and handed the industry $1.21 million of taxpayers’ money to subsidise a voluntary waste recycling project.