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"Plastic bag taxes deliver no environmental benefit, says Pifa"
By Julie Bieles
Posted 24 November 2004

24 November 2004 – Plastic bag taxes fail to deliver real environmental benefits, according to the UK Packaging and Industrial Films Association (Pifa).

It said that while plastic carrier bag volumes decrease where a tax has been introduced, the use of alternatives – which require more transport and consume more energy – increases.

Pifa chief executive David Tyson said: The plastic bag is our best environmental choice. One plastic bag can carry up to 2,500 times its own weight whereas alternatives can weigh six times more and take much more room to store and use much more energy in transportation.

In fact one retailer in one country where a plastic bag tax was introduced now has to transport four 40-foot containers of paper sacks – protected from moisture by plastic – where previously it had shipped only three pallets of plastic carriers to do the same job.

This unpredicted result of a misguided tax is doing far more environmental damage because it results in increased exhaust emissions, more congestion on the roads and much more waste going to landfill.”

In Ireland, where a bag tax was introduced in March 2002, consumers have switched to heavier gauge bin bags and refuse sacks, Pifa said. The association said the Irish tax has brought no statistically significant change” in the total tonnage of plastic bags in the country – basing its conclusions on analysis of Customs and Excise statistics.


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