Welsh government calls for carrier bag charge to be rolled out to rest of UK
One year on from the introduction the 5p carrier bag charge in Wales, John Griffiths, the Welsh Governments environment minister, has called for the charge to be rolled out to the rest of the UK.
The Welsh government said that carrier bag use in Wales has reduced by as much as 96% in some retail sectors since the charge was introduced in October 2011. In addition a recent survey of has indicated that the charge is now supported by around 70% of people in Wales.
Griffiths said: "One year on from the introduction of our 5p bag charge it is obvious that it has made a real difference to shopping habits of people here in Wales.
"Checkouts across Wales are now full of people using their own bags to carry shopping rather than paying 5p for a new one, and it is really heartening to see people in Wales developing sustainable shopping habits and being much less wasteful with the world’s natural resources. I think the Welsh experience proves that if you want to effectively reduce carrier bag use, a charge really is the best way to go.
"I have been really impressed by the ease with which Welsh retailers and shoppers have adjusted to the charge. Their efforts have been key to its success and I can see no reason why the charge wouldn’t work just as well in other parts of the UK."
The Welsh government said that charge had also resulted in more money for charities and not for profit organisations as many retailers pass the proceeds from the 5p charge onto environmental or good causes.
The Minister’s comments come as both Scotland and Northern Ireland are looking at whether at mandatory charge for single use bags could work for them.
They also follow UK wide figures, published in the summer that showed that whilst carrier bag use in Wales is reducing dramatically, in other parts of the UK it is on the increase.
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