One use plastic bag charge hailed as success as Tesco saves 1.5 billion bags


Shopping giant Tesco has announced that over 1.5 billion bags have been saved since the introduction of the single use carrier bag charge in October 2015.

This represents a 72 per cent fall across all Tesco stores.

Additionally, more than £70 million has been raised for charities throughout the country, including improvements to parks and sports facilities and to children’s cancer charities.

It is thought the carrier bag charge could have saved five billion bags across all high street stores in England alone.

George Gordon, UK & ROI communications director at Tesco said that: “Tesco customers shopping on have also dramatically reduced the number of bags they use, with 57 per cent of online shoppers selecting ‘bagless’ deliveries.”

Gordon added:

Thanks to Bags of Help, nearly £12 million has been spent so far on local environmental improvement projects like parks, sports facilities, school playgrounds and community gardens – projects that have all been chosen by our customers.

“Going forward, we will help customers do even more for their communities by bringing together more projects for them to vote on every month.”

Tesco also operates a grant scheme where customers can vote for nominations from community groups and customers, with each grant ranging from £8,000 to £12,000.

Last week German discount supermarket chain Lidl pledged to remove single-use plastic carrier bags from all stores in England, Scotland, and wales.

It is expected that the move will save an estimated 63 million plastic bags per year, which is the equivalent of 760 tonnes of plastic.

Other stores, including ASDA and Marks & Spencer, have also donated large amounts of proceeds to local charities and international charities including Macmillan Cancer Research and the Marine Conservation Society.

Despite the large amounts of positive change that the 5p charge has brought, all major supermarkets, including Tesco, fought heated lobbying campaigns in order to kill the measure before it was approved by parliament.

Both ministers and civil servants were urged to reject the ideas that were supported by a large bank of environmental and community organisations including Keep Britain Tidy and the Marine Conservation Society.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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