single use plastic bags
August 10, 2017

Tesco To End Sales of Single Use Plastic Bags

Tesco have announced that they will no longer be selling their 5p single-use plastic bags from 28th August.

They announced this change after conducting trials in three UK cities; Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich. The outcome showed a 25% cut in bag sales with customers buying bags for life or bringing their own reusable bags.

Tesco’s 10p bags for life are made from 94% recycled plastic, and they have said that when their bags for life are damaged they will exchange then for new ones free of charge – great news for the customer!

The 5p plastic bag charge brought into England in 2015 brought us in line with schemes already operating in other UK countries, brought about in an effort to reduce litter and protect wildlife. Around 8 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year. Experts tell us that plastic is eaten by around 31 species of marine mammals and over 100 species of sea birds.

Introducing the 5p charge quite clearly has worked according to figures last July showing that the number of single-use plastic bags has dropped by over 85% since the introduction. Yes, this is great news, but still Tesco sell more than 700 million single-use bags every year. Their move to bags for life should cut this number significantly – further helping in reducing litter and single-use bags being sent to landfill.

Environment Minister, Thérèse Coffey added: “I welcome Tesco wanting to go further and help their customers use even fewer plastic bags. The switch to a bag for life will continue to help reduce litter and boost recycling – helping to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”

While online shoppers will still have the choice of buying 5p bags, 57% are choosing to take bag-less deliveries – another plus for the environment!

Who gains from the plastic bag charge?

When the government introduced the original 5p plastic bag charge back in 2015 they suggested that retailers pass on the money to charities and non-profit organisations, and that they keep records of the quality of bags sold and where the proceeds went.

Tesco have their Bags of Help project, a community grant scheme that funds thousands of local projects across the UK. These can range from improving community outdoor areas or buildings, to buying equipment for community projects and hosting community events. Over 6400 community groups have been awarded a grant, with £33m being invested into local projects. Money raised from the more expensive bags for life will continue to go towards these community projects.

So while Tesco have made a positive move in scrapping the 5p plastic bag, Dr Sue Kinsey, Senior Pollution Office with the Marine Conservation Society said “We are concerned that the difference between a 5p and a 10p charge may not be sufficient to change buyer behaviour further, given the volume and longevity of the material used in a plastic bag for life. We keenly await the results of the change across the business to see if customers will be using their bags again and again.”

Should the cost of a bag for life be higher?

Will this encourage consumers to hold onto their shopping bags and re-use them?

We don’t know the answers to these questions –in the end it is down to the individual. Having said that, here at The Printed Bag Shop we do believe that providing your customers with stylish, printed plastic bags that are strong and durable, comfortable to carry, and have eye catching designs will encourage them to re-use your bags for life time and again.

(Featured image from here)