On 5 October 2015 England introduced a 5p (7 cents) charge for plastic bags in an effort to minimise its impact on the environment, reduce litter and protect wildlife. An average of 7.6 billion plastic bags per year has been administered to English consumers up to now, which equates to 61,000 Tonnes and 140 bags per person.
A landmark European Parliament ruling in April 2015 means that all member states must achieve an 80% reduction in plastic (polyethylene) bag use by 2025. Many plastic bags and products end up in landfills or marine environments, causing severe and long-term pollution. It is estimated that 100 billion plastic carrier bags are used across Europe every year, with 8 billion ending up as litter.
Is charging for carrier bags an effective way to reduce the use of plastic bags? What other measures might help cut the number of new plastic bags and encourage consumers to reuse bags?