Last year, the major supermarkets gave out 7.6bn plastic carrier bags to customers in England. This equates to over 140 per person and 61,000 tonnes of plastic.
Given that many of the bags were thrown away after just 20 minutes of use, along with the fact that an awful lot of them ended up as ‘unsightly litter’, something needed to be done.
To address the problem, the government have introduced a compulsory 5p charge on plastic bags from retailers with more than 250 employees. Similar schemes have already been introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and have resulted in dramatic reductions in the number of single usage bags taken by customers.
The new charges apply to bags that are thinner than 70 micron, which includes just about all the plastic bags you typically get from shops. Even most of the plastic ‘bags for life’ are thinner than 70 micron, which means that shops will still be obliged to charge for them.
So a good day overall for the environment and the wildlife that can be poisoned or choked by discarded plastic bags. It also represents an ideal opportunity for you to get your brand into the hands of your customers by sending them an environmentally friendly, re-usable promotional bag.
There’s a wide range to choose from, including bags made from cotton, recycled paper and jute. Click here to see a selection from our ‘earth friendly’ bag range and for other ‘green’ promotional ideas we offer.