Should Carrier Bags be Charged a Fee in UK Just Like in Wales?

Although this is a simple question but has a complicated answer. Recently, a poll was taken by coalition group pushing for levy in England. The poll suggested that three-fourths of people who were asked would cut down on the usage of single use plastic bags if there was a charge levied by the Government.

People who are for levying the tax say:

  • It cuts down the litter and waste from streets, countryside and beaches substantially.
  • Last year 8bn plastic bags were used, and only 6% were recycled, contributing further to waste
  • Plastic bags are made from petroleum derivatives thus further straining our limited natural resources
  • The tax helps in funding local and community projects
  • In Wales, where the charge of 5p was introduced more than a year ago, the consumption of single use plastic bags have reduced by 96%.

People who are opposed to the tax say:

  • It is better to voluntarily curb the usage than levy yet another tax
  • There is little to no cost effective alternative for the retailers and supermarkets
  • It puts the burden on common households as the costs by the retailers are embedded in the prices of goods

Wales on the other hand has levied a charge of 5p for over a year and found it to be a ‘resounding success” as per John Griffiths, environment minister for Wales. Given Wales’ success, would England be soon to follow?

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