Plastic bag use slashed by nearly 80% since introduction of Government bag charge

5 Dec 2015

The number of single-use bags used by customers at Tesco stores in England has been slashed by an incredible 78% in a month since the introduction of the Government’s 5p plastic bag charge, according to figures released by Tesco.

The number of single-use bags used by customers at Tesco stores in England has been slashed by an incredible 78% in a month since the introduction of the Government’s 5p plastic bag charge, according to figures released by Tesco.

Customers shopping on Tesco.com have also dramatically reduced the number of bags they use, with the number of online shoppers selecting ‘bagless’ deliveries increasing by nearly 50%. 

The bag charge was introduced by the Government in October this year with the aim of cutting the number of plastic bags taken from shops and improving the environment. The drop in bag use by Tesco customers in store is almost 10% higher than Tesco predicted before the bag levy was introduced.

Rebecca Shelley, Group Communications Director for Tesco said:

“We knew the Government’s bag charge would encourage our customers to use fewer plastic bags and it’s clearly had a huge impact.

“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.

“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.”

Over the past six weeks, Tesco has been calling out to charities and local community groups to apply for grants from the carrier bag charge to fund projects which will make lasting improvements to green spaces in communities across the UK. The retailer has just extended the deadline for applications to 11th December, to give charities and individuals more time to submit their applications. The eligibility criteria for the scheme has also been expanded to include projects on school grounds, community spaces on housing estates or residential areas, including gated areas, spaces in the grounds of hospices and day centres and allotments.

The size of the grants available range from £8,000 to £12,000, and Tesco is working with environmental charity Groundwork to administer the scheme.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart said:

“I’m really delighted that the 5p plastic bag charge is starting to have a real impact and is raising thousands for good causes.         

“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.”

Tesco sees protecting the environment as an essential as part of being a responsible business. The retailer has set an ambition to be a zero carbon business by 2050, and has led the industry in its work to reduce food waste.

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

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