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5p Plastic Bag Update

In October 2015, a 5p charge was introduced for the use of plastic bags. Here at Woodford Recycling, we reported on everything you needed to know about the introduction of the new charge, which you can view here.
Now, almost a year on, we take a look at how the charge has impacted the UK’s shopping habits and its resulting impact on the environment.

The rules

The introduction of a 5p carrier bag charge was enforced for all retailers with 250 or more full-time employees. A minimum charge of 5p for single-use plastic carrier bags was required for both in-store shopping and deliveries.
Whilst not all bags are chargeable – in particular ones containing uncooked meat or fish, unwrapped food, blades, or flowers – bags coming from any major supermarket and retailer must be charged at 5p.

The aim

The charge was introduced in an effort to improve the nation’s environmental conservation efforts, and to reduce the millions of single-use plastic bags going to landfill every year. As plastic bags are not biodegradable, they have a significant effect in the environment. The introduction of a charge on bags was therefore aiming to reduce the number of bags used by people when shopping, encouraging them to bring their own bag instead. Failing that, the 5p charged per bag would contribute to charities, meaning a win-win in any case.

The results

In the first six months of the charge being in place, plastic bag usage fell by almost 83%, with estimates that final figures will fall from over seven billion bags used a year to less than half a billion in the first 6 months. This reduction has already saved over 40,000 tonnes of plastic from going to landfill, showing the introduction of the charge to be a tremendous success so far.
These results are estimated to save £60million in litter clean-up costs, as well as massively improving our impact as a nation on the environment. Here at Woodford Recycling, we’re committed to a zero-to-landfill policy with every waste disposal service we provide, so we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the 5p plastic bag charge, and what other items this successful idea may filter into.
Woodford Recycling provide same day delivery and collection waste management services throughout the UK, with a state of the art recycling facility enabling us to aim for 100% landfill diversion by recovering valuable resources.

For more information, or to discuss your waste disposal needs, simply contact our friendly team today and we’ll be happy to help you.

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