Wales’ Single-Use Bag Levy Both Effective and Popular

Wales’ Single-Use Bag Levy Both Effective and Popular

Huge Reductions in Single-Use Carrier Bags
Cardiff, Wales, Sept. 24, 2012 - (PBBR)- The use of single-use carrier bags has been drastically reduced in Wales after the government implemented a five-pence levy last October 1st. All retailers are required to levy the fee for any bag, paper or plastic, distributed to the customer.

In a written statement by the Welsh government on July 4, 2012, John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development said, "I am pleased to say that the charge is having a real impact on reducing the number of single use carrier bags supplied in Wales."

Bag Reduction Data
The data collected indicates that the number of single use carrier bags supplied in Wales has drastically reduced since the introduction of the charge. The reductions estimated by retailers are as follows:

Extreme reduction in single-use carrier bags in Wales since 5p levy began. Image and Design Copyright © 2012 Ted Duboise.

• Food retail - between 96% and 70% reductions
• Fashion - between 75% and 68% reductions
• Home improvement - 95% reduction
• Food service - up to 45% reduction
• Telecommunications - 85% reduction

"We wanted the people of Wales to get into the habit of reusing their bags when shopping", stated Mr. Griffiths. "The reduction in numbers of single use carrier bags suggest that the charge is achieving this aim."

Cardiff University Research
To further understand how the general public are adapting to the charge, research was commissioned from Cardiff University to gather data on the public’s behaviour and attitudes towards the charge. The findings of the research are very encouraging as it suggests that the charge is both effective and popular. The research shows that:

• the charge has helped to greatly increase own bag use in Wales (from 61% of people using their own bag prior to the charge to 82% after) across all age groups and for men and women alike;

• the charge is widely supported in Wales. Even before its introduction, the charge was supported by a majority of the Welsh population (59%). Support for the charge increased even further after its introduction to 70%;

• a significant majority of the Welsh population believe that charging 5 pence for each single-use carrier bag is an effective way of reducing waste, helps to reduce litter and are generally willing to pay a 5 pence charge if the money goes to charity.

It is therefore apparent that we are successfully achieving our aims of both reducing the number of single use carrier bags supplied in Wales and helping to modify the public’s behaviour to reuse bags when shopping, not only for groceries but also in the high street.

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