Shoppers ‘should pay 40p for every plastic bag they use’
STORES have been urged to make their plastic bags much more expensive to cut pollution.
Green campaigners want shops to charge around 40p for ‘bags for life’ – which usually cost 10p – to reflect their environmental impact.
Many stores have been phasing out flimsier single-use bags since the government introduced a 5p levy on them in favour of the thicker, reusable versions.
Researchers estimate the thicker bags need to be used between four and six times before they make up for the extra plastic needed to make them compared to single-use bags. But green activists are worried that he bags for life are so inexpensive that shoppers will discard them after only a couple of uses.
Dr Laura Foster, head of pollution at the Marine Conservation Association, called for the stronger bags to have a higher price tag to reflect how many times they need to be used.
She said: ‘We would like to see a price along the lines of 40p to reflect the carbon footprint relative to a single-use plastic bag.’
Although she ultimately wants to stop people buying bags altogether, she thinks raising the price for heavier carriers will also educate consumers about the need to use them repeatedly to offset the higher environmental impact of making them.
Over the past two years, supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsburys have scrapped their single-use bags for heavier ones. Marks and Spencer has become the latest company to phase out the 5p bags in favour of the bag-for-life versions, made from recycled plastic.
The introduction of the 5p charge in 2015 led to an 86 per cent reduction in the number of carrier bags used, taking 13 billion plastic bags out of circulation in two years.