Tesco has announced that the use of plastic carrier bags has fallen by 78% since the 5p charge was introduced in early October.
On 5 October rules were introduced that required supermarkets with more than 250 employees across England to start charging at least 5p for plastic bags, which is subsequently donated to charities chosen by the supermarkets themselves.
According to Britain’s biggest supermarket, the new rules have led to a 78% reduction in the use of plastic bags, whilst the number of ‘bagless deliveries’ has increased by half.
“We knew the Government’s bag charge would encourage our customers to use fewer plastic bags and it’s clearly had a huge impact,” said Tesco Group Communications Director Rebecca Shelley.
“We wanted to do as much as we could to help our customers avoid paying the charge – the week before the charge was introduced we gave out free bags for life, and we’ve been sharing helpful hints and tips on how customers can cut down the number of bags they use.”
The Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs claimed that the levy would raise over £70m a year for “good causes”. Accordingly, Tesco has been offering grants from £8,000 to £12,000 for community projects aimed at improving green space.
“We’re also working with our customers to make sure the millions of pounds that will be raised from the bag charge go towards making a real difference for our local communities,” Shelly added.
“I’m really delighted that the 5p plastic bag charge is starting to have a real impact and is raising thousands for good causes,” said Environment Minister Rory Stewart.
“Cutting the number of plastic bags we use is a small but vital step in reducing plastic waste. It will not only tidy up our towns and countryside, it will also help protect our precious beaches and sea life.”