Charging for plastic bags at the supermarket works--people really do bring their own. Ten weeks ago Marks & Spencer instituted a 5 pence (10 cents) charge on plastic bags at its stores. Since then customers have used 70 million fewer bags. That's an 80% decrease in use. Who would have thought! These are among the first statistics showing the impact of banning bags and they are impressive. At the same time, the company has sold ten million of its own store-brand hessian green bags-for-life; donating the 1.85pence profit made on each one to Groundwork, an environmental charity--$400,000 so far.
The British Government, in its upcoming Climate Change Bill, has given the other big supermarkets until next April to switch over to charging. If they don't do it, the Government will set a mandatory fee for bags. A representative of British supermarkets has called this move "a steamroller to crack a walnut". Environmentalists are concerned that the over-packaging of food is a much more important issue--one the Bill does not address.
Now there is no uniformity; supermarkets offer a range: some hide the bags under the counter, others charge, others give customer points for reusing the bags, whilst others sell bags. Ikea, B&Q;, Debenhams, Body Shop, Whole Foods Market and Oxfam have banned free plastic bags or are running trials on charges. Discounter food stores such as Aldi and Lidl have been charging for years. :: The Times
More on Charging for Plastic Bags
:: Ikea Bans Plastic Bags
:: China's Plastic Bag Ban
:: San Francisco to Ban Plastic Bags
:: Modbury: A Year without Plastic
:: Big Ban: Phase 2