Plastic bag use in England is on the rise… should we care?
By Anthony Clark
Posted 6 July 2012
The latest Wrap figures show that plastic bag use in England and Northern Ireland is up on last year. According to the organisation, eight billion ‘thin-gauge’ bags were issued in the UK in 2011, up 5% on 2010.
But when divide up across the UK it looks like this – there’s a 22% fall in Wales, a 7.5% rise in England, an 8.1% rise in Northern Ireland and no significant change in Scotland over the period.
So there you have it – proof that a bag tax works! The Welsh were right all along. Offa's Dyke is the line in the sand when it comes to free single-use plastic bags.
However, the British Retail Consortium’s head of environment, Bob Gordon, has a slightly different perspective on the subject: "Plastic bags account for a fraction of one per cent of household waste and the amount of new plastic being used in today's bags is half what it was in 2006. They have a symbolic status but their impact on the environment is much smaller than other things which retailers are turning their firepower on.”
In essence the debate is not about the environmental impact of plastic carriers bags – it’s about politicians being seen to act on the environment and picking up on an easy fix in terms of media coverage.
Given the current political climate [any good news will be grabbed with both hands by the government] it is surely only a matter of time before Westminster outlaws free carriers bags. This will please Daily Mail readers… except those that run bag-making companies, who might just feel slightly aggrieved.
Political expediency before jobs – is that what we really need?
[ Back ]
Send us your thoughts on this blog