Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Plastic bag charging - get the academic facts!

This week a 5p plastic bag charge was introduced for shoppers in England.
The BBC site promised to give you all the facts!
Or check out the information for consumers from the UK government website which also has further background information for retailers.

Why is the charge being introduced? 

Environment Agency  research from 2012 on the life cycle of average supermarket carrier bags provides insight into the environmental impact.
For more on the global environmental impact try searching the UNEP site

Data produced by Wrap recorded
an increase of 3% in the number of bags given away at supermarkets between 2012 and 2013.
Prior to the implementation of the charge a consumer survey in 2014 found most of the public in favour.

In Wales the introduction of the charge led to a 96% reduction in usage. Get the full facts from the Welsh government website which also recorded a change in consumer behaviour as surveys showed that more shoppers took their bags to the supermarket
Research about the introduction of the levy in Ireland also showed a reduction in usage.

However on a more negative note this recent SSRN paper raised concerned that if plastic bags were reused lack of hygiene could cause more food poisoning related diseases.
Also a local area study of the impact in Los Angeles of a local charge resulted in a loss of economic income for retailers and increased unemployment.

Immediate Uk reaction
British Retail Consortium has a negative response.
Break the Bag Habit has been campaigning for legislation.
Keep Britain Tidy called it a fantastic day
Friends of the Earth offered a more moderate response.

If you are an LSE student we also have access to CABI Environmental Impact.(campus access)
Web of Science, Scopus which provide access to articles on this topic.

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