Carrier bag sales in supermarkets drop 93%

// Carrier bag sales drop 93% in five years
// Customers now use just ten carrier bags a year
// New Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers says nation is “calling time on being a throwaway society”

Carrier bag sales at supermarkets have fallen 93 per cent thanks to the 5p levy charged to customers who now need to purchase one.

According to a report by the Daily Mail as part of their Banish the Bags campaign, research found a typical shopper now gets through just ten a year, down from 19 last year and 140 in 2014.

Five years ago 7.6 billion bags were handed out annually by Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, the Co-op and Waitrose. This figure has now fallen to 549 million, with £169 million from 5p bag charges going to charities.

“Our comprehensive action to slash plastic waste and leave our environment in a better state continues to deliver results, with our 5p charge reducing plastic bag sales by 90 per cent in the big supermarkets,” the new Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers wrote in the Daily Mail on Wednesday.

“No one wants to see the devastating impact plastic waste is having on our precious wildlife. Today’s figures are a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society,” Villiers added.

Taking in all supermarkets with more than 250 employees, bag sales fell 37 per cent in 2018/19 to 1.11 billion.

Last week Iceland said it had launched a trial to completely remove plastic bags from one of its stores, as it ramps up its efforts in the war on plastic.

The trial will run in Iceland’s Hackney store in London, with customers being offered extra-strong paper bags for 15p.

It is anticipated that the trials will collectively save over 210,000 plastic bags from being newly purchased.

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