Scotland’s plastic bag ban has saved 650 million bags - equivalent to 4,400 tons of plastic - in its first year. Another great climate solution that you can work to implement in your community today.
One year ago, Scotland started charging five pence for plastic grocery bags. In the following year,650 million fewerbags have been used, an 80% reduction. Before the ban on free carrier bags, as they’re called over there, Scotland was the U.K.’s worst offender.
As a conscientious shopper, you might bristle when you see somebody double-bag a cold beverage or bag a single item that has its own handle anyway. Compulsory bag charges might not be popular with these people, but they’re certainly effective. "It’s now becoming second nature to shoppers to reuse their carrier bags and hopefully to think more about our impact on the environment," Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead told theGuardian.
According to the Scottish government, 650 million bags weighs in at 4,400 tons of plastic, which is equivalent to saving 2,800 tons of CO2, even when accounting for the reusable bags that have taken the place of the disposables.
England banned free carrier bags earlier this month. Ireland banned them in 2013, leading to a 71% dropin the first year, and Wales banned them in 2011, also giving a71% drop.
So far in the U.K., the effects has been similar, with a 90% drop in bag usereported bythe Asda supermarket chain.
Not everyone is happy about the charge. Faced with a five penny charge for bags, some shoppers are skipping it in favor ofstealing shopping carts, which only need a £1 coin to release.
How is your country coping with the plastic?
What do you do with the plastic bags you purchase?